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Information Campaigns on Safe Migration and Pre-Departure Training

posted on 2023-06-07, 17:00 authored by Tasneem Siddiqui, Rozana Rashid, Benjamin Zeitlyn
It is now widely recognised that migration is one of the most significant global phenomena and challenges of the 21st century. This is especially relevant to Bangladesh, as a major supplier of labour to the world market. The economy of Bangladesh relies heavily on remittances, which dwarf foreign direct investment and development assistance. In recent years, both government and civil society in Bangladesh have realised these facts and several important steps have been taken to improve the governance of migration. There remain many challenges ahead and much room for improvement. One of the most pressing problems facing migrants and the good governance of migration is widespread lack of awareness about the complexities of migration. It has been recognised by academic studies and in the experiences of other major migrant sending countries that initiatives to disseminate information about these issues and properly train migrant workers can significantly reduce the negative effects and enhance the positive outcomes of migration. The twin tasks of wide dissemination of information about how to process migration for those who want to migrate and training of those who are already in the process of migration are enormous. This report looks into Sri Lanka and Philippines’ experiences in safe migration information campaigns and in the area of pre-departure orientation training. This provides an assessment from which examples of good practice and lessons have been identified. In Sri Lanka, information campaigns on safe migration include community-level interventions, drama, talk shows and discussion programmes in mass media and consultations with returnees which are carried out by the government, NGOs, trade unions and church groups. The role of NGOs is limited more or less to providing prospective migrants with information and finding a solution to the problems of returnees. As far as Pre-Departure Orientation Training is concerned, the Sri Lankan Government provides two - three weeks compulsory PDOT for female housemaids combining skills training on household management, language and general orientation. Although a public-private partnership has emerged in Sri Lanka where recruitment agents supplement some of the government’s training under the guidance and monitoring of the government, NGOs in Sri Lanka feel alienated from this system. The study in the Philippines reveals that the country has an institutionalised information campaign run by the government through press, television, radio and person to person contact. NGOs in the Philippines are also involved in information campaigns often in collaboration with the government, or based on a government model. The Filipino PDOTs conducted by designated government institutions primarily aim to prepare migrants for the journey and inform them about how they can benefit from migration. Whilst in the majority of trainings, lectures, discussions and videos are the most common methods, these have been designed as much as possible to be effective in the time allotted. In order to expand training 5 programmes to reach the maximum amount of migrants, the Government of the Philippines has involved NGOs and recruitment agencies in pre-departure training and information campaigns. Recruitment agencies and NGOs benefit from this partnership financially, in their influence on policy and with their ability to attract migrants to their organisations. It was found from the Bangladesh experiences that the Government of Bangladesh has made some investment in information campaigns through mass media. However, due to the sporadic nature of such interventions no tangible results can be observed. Migrant associations and civil society organisations play an important role in information campaigns through the production of materials such as training modules, drama, documentary and audio visual materials but those are not disseminated on a wide scale. In Bangladesh, a two-hour PDO programme is conducted by the government using a lecture-based method for outgoing migrants who have completed their formalities and are going abroad on a group-visa. Specialised training NGOs, migrant associations and private recruitment agencies have also involved themselves in PDOTs. Recently, skills training programmes for female migrant workers have been undertaken by the Bangladesh Association of Private Recruitment Agencies (BAIRA) in collaboration with specialist training NGOs. International organisations have played a supportive role in training programmes in Bangladesh, by providing funding and help in developing materials. However, their role must be brought into a wider institutionalised framework to avoid overlapping. Based on the above findings the study puts forward the following recommendation for improving the state of information campaign and pre-departure orientation training for labour migrants in Bangladesh: Information campaigns on safe migration should be a continuous process and should be carried out on a wider scale. Following the model of Sri Lanka and the Philippines, community level programmes should be designed which will create mass awareness through the capacity building of community leaders. More information campaigns through the mass media such as drama, documentary and films are also required. There is a need to create positive ideas about female migration and to make people aware of the potential pitfalls of illegal migration. The existing pre-departure orientation training should be broadened in its scope and improved in quality. This study also assumes the need for special PDOTs for vulnerable groups. Professional trainers should be appointed and the period of training, curriculum and methods should be adapted to make PDOTs interesting and useful to migrants. Most importantly, both information campaigns and pre-departure briefing services should be conducted under a broad national institutional framework. It should replace current project based, multiple agency approaches. A common, all encompassing programme, such as that in the Philippines should be designed under the leadership of BMET and all stakeholders should be involved in that process. Once the programme is chalked out, the government should make its commitment and international organisations should be encouraged to provide assistance to implement particular components. 6 The government, NGOs, civil society organisations, private recruitment agencies, research bodies and international organisations - all have specific roles and responsibilities in implementing the plan of action. The government should create opportunities for NGOs and the private sector so that they can all play a role by using their experience, contacts and expertise in this sector. This will also help develop a system of cooperation and collaboration among the various groups operating in this field.


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Development Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty



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Development Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty

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