Access to information for migrants: building on the positive results, TSF expands its mission

Publication date: Mar 31, 2021
TSF information diffusion system at Juarez Center

Although 2020 saw a decrease in the number of migrants crossing borders, which can be explained by the COVID-19 pandemic, the migration crisis in Central America remains a humanitarian crisis. These people are mostly in a vulnerable situation and often lack access to information crucial to their safety and rights. For example, 17% of the migrants interviewed in the shelters during the evaluation of the mission carried out by our teams in 2020, learned about COVID-19 for the first time through the information diffusion screens set up by TSF. A large majority of them travel without a telephone and many use television as their primary source of information in their home countries. In this context, this information diffusion mission, initiated in 2017, is essential to meet the needs of migrants. It provides them with all the information they need to make the best possible decisions for their future, and enables the local organisations that run the centres to communicate this information more clearly and effectively.

The evaluation shows that, in most cases, migrants who consulted the content displayed on the screens said that it had a positive impact on their lives; for 75% of them the information was new and 94% felt that it was useful. Thanks to the information they get, some can make important decisions such as applying for asylum in Mexico (59%), or applying for a humanitarian visa (18%). Finally, between 2019 and 2020, there was a 34% increase of migrants reading the information on the screens. In fact, the information has been adapted and personalised for each centre. The content is divided into a general section with global information, complemented by a regional section, which includes advice on the risks related to that region as well as the latest news; and finally, a section specific to the centre itself.

Overall, the results of this evaluation show that the mission is essential for migrants, and that it contributes to the work of the organisations in charge of the centres. 95% of the migrants and 100% of the centre managers recommend installing the information system in other centres. "The information on COVID-19 is very interesting to understand the situation in the whole country. The section 'Your rights' is really important", confirms a migrant of Cuban origin interviewed at the FM4 shelter in Guadalajara. In the same perspective, the people in charge of the centres stress that "the system is very useful. It is like having several professionals who transmit relevant information" and that "the system is a good way of sharing with the migrants the information they need".

These positive results reinforce our determination to extend access to this information to more migrants. To this end, two collaboration agreements have been finalised with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and The system, currently installed in 10 centres in Mexico, will now be present in 32 new centres: 17 shelters in Mexico and Central America and 5 in Colombia. In addition, 10 shelters will be integrated into the project on the northern border of Mexico. In total, the expansion of the TSF project to these 42 centres will provide thousands of migrants with access to reliable, targeted and regularly updated information that is essential for their safety and future.

Related mission