IOM Launches 6th Edition Of ‘CinemArena’ On Irregular Migration

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By Mariama Marong

The International Organization for Migration( IOM) has recently launched the sixth edition of ‘CinemArena’ mobile caravan to raise awareness on irregular migration and youth empowerment in The Gambia. 

The six weeks initiative aims to carry out educational and information campaigns on of saving lives and facilitating regular pathwthe risks of irregular migration and its alternatives in the most remote and disadvantaged areas. The activity commences from the 5th of February to the 30th of March and the outdoor mobile cinema will be visiting twenty-eight villages across all regions.
The mobile caravan sensitization outing also seeks to empower individuals to make informed decisions about their migratory journeys by screening short videos and documentaries highlighting the realities of irregular migration, and by utilizing comedy to stimulate dialogue and engaging community leaders and members in a debate.
Emmanuel Murwisi, the IOM’s Chief of Mission in The Gambia, said the objectives of ‘CinemArena’ is aligned with IOM’s agenda ays for migrants. The IOM representative said they will work with communities to ensure that the youth are safe and empowered, and further said that The Gambia is one of five countries including Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Senegal and Tunisia, to implement the edition of ‘CinemArena’ (2023-2025), which is for the people in their communities.

“This is why the caravan meets people in their localities, and we hope that all the members of these communities including parents, community and influential leaders, women and youth, will effectively engage in the rich conversations in addressing the root causes of irregular migration and the exploration of the available opportunities as alternatives,” he said.
Alagie Jarju, the Executive Director of the National Youth Council who spoke at the ‘CinemArena’ launch in Essau in the North Bank Region, highlighted the hope and opportunity that change would bring new attitudes and behaviours of young people towards irregular migration. 

“Our youth should believe in themselves and maximise the opportunities available in the country,’’ he said. 

Jarju said cinema is a powerful tool for entertainment and education and that using it around the entire country informing young people and potential migrants on the dangers of irregular migration and local opportunities as alternatives, is very impactful.
Mrs Awa Jallow from Essau said as parents particularly mothers, they have a greater role to play in the migration decision of their children. She said the caravan outing would empower mothers to make positive migratory choices for their children.
Fatou Ceesay, a returnee from Libya, also shared her testimony on her ‘irregular’ journey, attesting to the painful realities of irregular migration.