The true impact of information diffusion for migrant populations

Since October 2017, Télécoms Sans Frontières has been working in Mexico to provide a means to diffuse information that reinforces migrant security and well-being in an environment reputed for its violence and insecurity.

It is no secret that one of the biggest challenges facing the humanitarian community today is the effective dissemination of relevant information for exposed populations. This context is reflected in a number of environments, be it in disaster-hit communities or in situations of mass population displacement where communities are dispersed across a large expanse.

Since October 2017, Télécoms Sans Frontières via its Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean in Mexico has been working alongside partner FM4 Paso Libre on information diffusion in migrant drop-in centres across Mexico. Having terminated the installation of its in-house digital signage solution in the five centres identified for phase one of its project, TSF went on to evaluate the effectiveness of the system as part of the second phase.

Collectively hosting over 3,200 migrants each month, the five centres have to date carried out surveys amongst 1/5 of TSF's 500-person target to assess the impact that information is having on groups and individuals.

64% of people questioned confirm having noticed the screen in the centres, and almost 70% of that group state having read the information displayed on the screens. 81% of individuals having taken note of the information claim to have made an informed decision based on the messages that are diffused.

With insecurity, violence and theft being amongst some of the principal problems faced by migrants in Mexico, the majority of people surveyed state having used the information to secure their travels by avoiding high-risk areas, travelling in groups and ensuring that they do not rely on strangers to assist them.

Since the installation of its solution, Télécoms Sans Frontières’ has been approached by a number of international organisations who are also working on the Mexican migration crisis. Organisations specialised in areas such as health and protection are seeking to benefit from TSF’s diffusion solution, that to date sees information provided by local organisations as well as international entities such as the UN Refugee Agency and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

This project comes as part of TSF's wider objective of providing situation-specific tools in response to humanitarian crises in order to facilitate access to information and communication, ultimately improving the security and well-being of some of the world’s most exposed and vulnerable groups.