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IOM Concludes Training for Journalists and CSOS in Kambia District

IOM Concludes Training for Journalists and CSOS in Kambia District

 BY Bilal Kamara (MAM Volunteer)

WhatsApp Image 2022 04 21 at 4.28.35 PM

The International organization for Migration (IOM) has completed a two-day workshop for journalists and civil society officials on media engagements and migration reporting.

Journalists and CSOs from the Kambia District formed the 59 participants who attended the training held at the Resource Center in Kambia town on the 10th and 11th February 2022.

The training conducted by IOM was geared towards equipping journalists and CSOs with knowledge and information about the problems of irregular migration and migration-related activities. Participants that attended the training were able to learn some terminologies in handling and reporting migration stories. Journalists and CSOs were exposed to several International Humanitarian Laws and treaties.

Speaking at the training, Mohamed Barrie one of the trainers explained the work of IOM in Sierra Leone and reiterated with emphasis that IOM is not in the country to stop Migration or discourage migration but rather to make migration safe and orderly for the benefit of all.

“This training is important for us journalists living in the border town of Kambia’’ said Mariama Mariatu Kamara, a radio journalist. She furthered “I believe it is the responsibility of us journalists to provide people with the right information which will help them make informed decisions about travel offers”.

Abass Bangura a popular CSO in Kambia described the training as an opportunity for him to attend. He confessed that within the 2 days’ workshop, he has learned fresh ideas and knowledge about regular and irregular migration.

Kambia town is bordering Sierra Leone and Guinea. It is one of the main routes used by traffickers and young people; venturing into the perilous “temple run” journey. “Temple run” is Sierra Leonean slang for irregular migration. Every year, thousands of youths are embarking on this desperate journey to reach Europe. They travel by crossing the hostile Sahara Desert and the inhospitable Mediterranean Sea.

It is believed that Kambia has over 50 illegal crossing points leading into neighboring Guinea. Abdul Rahman Kays an experienced CSO activist who was one of the facilitators at the training disclosed that they deliberately chose Kambia town for this training because they believe it is a strategic crossing point for migrants and traffickers. Kays said that journalists and CSOs in this part of the country have an important role in reducing the risk of irregular migration by raising awareness against human trafficking and providing sufficient and timely information that will change the mindset about backway journeys.

Over the last 5 years, many Sierra Leoneans have been reported dead and stranded somewhere along their “temple run” journey while others especially women who have been trafficked to work in the Middle East are working under harsh and deplorable conditions such as sexual exploitation and abuse. At the end, when their mission of “irregular migration” fails and there is a clarion and voluntary call for a return to their homes, the international Organization for Migration – IOM responds to this call by supporting the voluntary return and reintegration of stranded migrants who are willing to return home and start a new life.

At the training, Mariama Bundu, a migrant returnee represented Women and Girl Child Against Irregular Migration, an organization that advocates for returnees. For her, if young people have access to the right information or know about risks involved in irregular migration, they will make better decisions before they travel. Mariama is also a migrant as a messenger volunteer (MaM) who is using her energy, voice, and experience to help other young people in Kambia town get the right information before taking up a journey that may eventually lead them to regrets. “I urge one to ask questions and confirm the information you receive before investing in any journey” she advised.

The training was delivered under the framework of the Migrants As a Messenger project with funding from the Netherlands Government.

 

Sallu Kamuskay

Sallu Kamuskay is a Sierra Leonean activist, storyteller, and blogger. He was born in Sierra Leone but later relocated to Guinea as a refugee because of the war in his country. Sallu Kamuskay uses his phone to engage on social media, under the name ‘’Salone Messenger’. He Co-Founded the Salone Messenger platform after his experience of the war, Ebola, and injustices. According to him, silence was the root cause of war, and of many social injustices, we continue to face as a nation. In 2013, during the Ebola crisis, Sallu Kamuskay took the risk and volunteered to fight Ebola. He spent some months in both safe and unsafe places; helping the victims and telling their sad stories. The election in 2018, left a divided country with communities fighting on tribal lines. This inspired Sallu Kamuskay to serve as the coordinator of the United Sierra Leone peace concert, which was organized in 4 major parts of the country, targeting violent communities and troubled youth. Sallu Kamuskay led a group of entertainers, activists, and organizations across the country on a peace tour, a program supported by the European Union, United Sierra Leone, Africa Union, ECOWAS, and the Messeh Leone Trust. Sallu Kamuakay has also served as a staff writer for the Hidden Voices Magazine. Over the years, Sallu Kamuskay has been using his Techno phone to be able to tell stories, the phone he used to tell the story of Gbessay during Ebola who was admitted at one of the Ebola treatment centers after rumors that she had Ebola when the actual sickness was ulcer, she was almost abandoned at the treatment canter with no medication provided to her. She could have died. Sallu told the story via social media and was able to secure funding from the United Sierra Leone to buy her medication and advocated for her. She was later discharged and taken home, He did the same to a patient that died and was abandoned in the street, Sallu Kamuskay used his phone and shared the message across, the corps was later taken and buried. It could have been more disaster without his voice. The story of late America Stress 3-year-old daughter. The hero’s daughter was abandon after his father's death. He shared her sad story and was able to get a sister who has taken the child as her own and is currently providing her with educational support. The article of America Stress can be read on the link below http://ayvnewspaper.com/index.php/k2-categories/item/7350-america-stress-a-hero-to-recognize. Sallu Kamuskay feels the stories of Gbessay, America stress and that of many others need to be told. The media house we have cannot better tell these stories, they are better reporters than telling human interest stories. He created the Salone Messenger platform and brought together passionate storytellers to be able to tell these compelling stories.

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