How the information diffusion system is helping keep migrants safe in Mexico

Publication date: Nov 19, 2020
Télécoms Sans Frontières has started its information diffusion project in Mexico three years ago, and with each year, the project has evolved and adapted better to migrants and refugees’ needs.

In fact, thanks to our screens in 11 locations, we are able to give migrants information about COVID-19, alerts and news, risks and dangers, consulates from several countries, their rights, procedures to ask for asylum, as well as information for women, children and young people. These are all updated regularly and are also adapted to the region in which the shelter is.

An evaluation conducted by our teams on the ground confirms that this project continues to be important for the beneficiaries. Overall, 96.5% of the interviewed migrants and asylum seekers consider the project has had a positive impact on their lives. When they were asked more details about what kind of positive impact, as many as 69% said they feel more secure and 12.5% feel more relieved. For 84% the information displayed on the screen is new, and it comes as no surprise to know that currently, the most important information for them regards health and safety. In fact, the majority say that the information on COVID-19 helped them be informed about its characteristics, symptoms and impacts on health, as well as allowed them to know what measures to reduce the risk of spreading the disease.

However, other types of information are seen as important as COVID-19 related questions, namely regarding the route, meaning maps, shelters, consulates, but also places to avoid, dangers along the route… This is followed by information on asylum, humanitarian visa and regulations. Finally, we observe a noticeable increase in the number of people who think the screens would be useful if installed in other shelters: in our 2019 assessment, 84% of the interviewees agreed with this statement, and in this year’s assessment, over 90% of interviewees agreed with it. This encourages us to work on expanding the project to more shelters.

A transgender woman from Honduras told us that “It’s really useful for every immigrant and refugee. I had not seen anything like this at other shelter I’ve been to. I’m not a person that reads too much and I don’t spend too much time watching the screen, but it would be great if it was displayed in every shelter. It would be even better if you could include more information about LGTB community and its rights”.

Finally, the project is not considered useful and important only by migrants and asylum seekers, but also by shelter managers. They indeed confirmed the informative screen system has helped migrants “feel safer and better informed about the situation in Mexico, especially on the migration route” as well as “inform [them] more rigorously and demystify rumours”. This is especially important during the pandemic, because “some people are anxious to go to work, but the information helps them understand the risks”.

Thanks to all these positive results, we are working on further expanding the project to more shelters. We hope to continue bringing as much information as possible to migrants, allowing them to know their rights and make the right choices for their future.

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