On Wednesday, December 2nd, AVSI Ivory Coast officially presented the results of "A New Hope" and "Awareness Project against Irregular Migration in Ivory Coast", two projects designed to combat irregular migration by creating new opportunities for those who choose to stay in Ivory Coast. "A New Hope" (A Network to fight against irregular migration through awareness-raising and information campaigns in Ivory Coast) is financed by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund of the European Union. The second project is financed by the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) as part of the "Free to leave, free to stay" campaign.
About 300 people participated in the event held in Abidjan, including representatives of institutions and civil society organizations, partners, community leaders, and beneficiaries of the projects.
Among the guests, Jobst Von Kirchmann, European Union ambassador in Ivory Coast, Stefano Lo Savio, the italian ambassador in Ivory Coast, Issiaka Konate, director of the General Management of Ivorians Abroad (DGIE) at the Ministry of African integration and Ivorians abroad and representatives of different Ivorian ministries (Ministry of Youth and Youth Employment, Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training, Ministry of Women, Family and of the Child, Ministry of Solidarity, Social Cohesion and Fight against Poverty) were in attendance.
"Mon défi, c'est reussir ici" - my challenge is to succeed here, in my country
Thanks to an awareness campaign designed with Ivorian partners and institutions, more than 25,000 people in Abidjan, Yamoussoukro, Daloa, and Bouaké had the chance to learn about the risks of irregular migration and the opportunities when choosing to remain in Ivory Coast. AVSI Ivory Coast used different campaign outlets like posters, television, radio, social media, and face-to-face meetings using positive slogans such as "Mon défi c'est de reussir ici (My challenge is to succeed here"). The awareness campaign was accompanied by concrete initiatives that have allowed 467 returning migrants or potential migrants to start income-generating activities.
"I no longer think about going to Europe. I am happy with my business here in Yamoussoukro," says Haidara Losseny, one of the project's beneficiaries. "Here, I have my friends who work with me and, they are like brothers. They help me manage customers and distribution. I have been selling bazin (an African unleavened bread made with barley, water, and salt) since 2013 and have now gained some experience. Thanks to the project, I was able to improve my business and understand its value".
In Italy, AVSI is accompanying the Ivorian community and working in reception centers
In seven Italian cities (Varese, Milan, Bologna, Palermo, Rome, Naples, and Udine), AVSI also engaged the Ivorian community in the projects. Members of the community were asked to share their experience as migrants with friends and relatives in Ivory Coast so they would understand better the life conditions of a migrant living abroad, their daily difficulties, and risks. Some of the testimonials were used for the documentary created by the cooperative Un sole per tutti (A Sun for All), shown during the Ivory Coast awareness campaign.
Both projects - with a total duration of 18 months and an overall budget of 1,235,000 euros - were implemented with a network of Italian partners (Un sole per tutti Cooperative, CeVI - International Volunteer Center, Ballafon Association) and Ivorian partners (UJCD - Union de la jeunesse communale de Daloa, the associations VIF - Vivre, Informer, Fraterniser, POS - Présence, Offrande, Service; CINE - Côte d'Ivoire Nouvel Espoir and Caritas of Bouaké, SOS Immigration Clandestine, Diaspora and POJE-CI Plateforme Opérationnelle Jeunesse de Côte d'Ivoire).