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International Organisation for Migration (IOM) launches safe migration campaign
Taurai Maduna,
January 24, 2006

Download the IOM's Passport To Safe Migration
- Acrobat PDF version - English (219
- Acrobat PDF version - Ndebele (201KB)
- Acrobat PDF version - Shona (200KB)
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Safe Journey campaign poster"Everyone spoke about Johannesburg, eGoli, and said that everything here was so beautiful, the buildings and everything . . . I also thought everybody would have formal jobs. I didn't expect to find people selling vegetables in the streets", said Miriam Moyo* in an interview with the The Sunday Independent of South Africa in January.

Miriam is one of the many people that cross the crocodile infested Limpopo River risking life and limb to seek a better life in South Africa.

With inflation at more than 600% and unemployment at more than 70%, many Zimbabweans feel there is no reason to stay in the country because their future is so bleak!

A total of 2000 Zimbabweans are deported every week from South Africa, according to Nicola Simmons, Information and Communications Officer for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Zimbabwe which recently launched a multimedia information campaign aimed at reducing the risks linked to irregular migration and HIV/AIDS.

IOM is an organisation based in Geneva that looks after migrant people who have been displaced either by accident or emergencies as well as political and economic reasons.

Ms Simmons said the campaign called Safe Journey is meant to raise peopleís awareness of the risks and realities of migration. She adds the main objective is to encourage people to travel legally and for those that do not travel legally, to advise them on how to be careful. - listen to audio file. The campaign includes billboards, posters, as well as radio and television programmes featuring testimonies in English, Shona and Ndebele from migrants.

Nicola Simmons holding the Passport to Safe MigrationThe campaign also includes a "Passport to Safe Migration" which is a guide for a potential migrant. Some of the information in the passport includes what a passport is, what a visa is and how one applies for a visa. The passport also explains what irregular migration is and what the risks are.

A musical album featuring some of Zimbabweís prominent musicians is also part of the campaign. Musicians on the album include Dudu Manhenga, Chiwoniso Maraire, Afrika Revenge, Pastor G and Oliver Mtukudzi amongst others. Fambai Zvakana - listen to the song is a song urging people to travel safely with all their documents in hand. All the artists featured on the album perform the song. Other songs on the album include Oliver Mtukudziís Todii, about HIV/AIDS, and Dino Mudondoís Ndichakumirira, a song about a guy whose girlfriend is out of the country saying he will wait for her to return home.

The musical album will be distributed to truck drivers and radio stations. Testimonies of migrants as well as interviews with musicians featured on the album will be aired on National FM - listen to the testimonies.

The campaign also focuses on HIV/AIDS prevention in border towns, which have a large concentration of migrants. Some of these migrants who may have been deported or are planning to migrate sometimes end up getting into prostitution as a means of raising money. Truck drivers have also been targeted in the campaign because they come into contact with many migrants in their travels. It is hoped that by being more informed the truck drivers can pass on information about HIV/AIDS to.

Early this year, IOM in conjunction with the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare visited the Beitbridge Reception and Support Centre which is under construction and scheduled to operate in February. The reception centre will offer humanitarian assistance to those who have been deported and efforts are underway to regularise Zimbabwean workers on farms in South Africa.

The signing of an agreement between the Zimbabwean and South African governments will result in Zimbabwean farm workers in South Africa being granted work permits, legal protection and access to social benefits.

In the coming months, IOM-Zimbabwe will be conducting road shows in border towns where they screen films on migration and HIV/AIDS as well play music from the safe journey music album.

*Not her real name.

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Audio File

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