The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Ghana has launched a campaign in Sunyani on May 25, 2022, to help prevent irregular migration.

Dubbed “Waka Well, Fa Kwan Pa So”, to wit, use the right process to travel, is also aimed at averting the exploitations of irregular migrants by empowering young people in the Bono and Bono East Regions to make informed migration-related decisions.

The occasion brought together irregular migration returnees, Ghana Immigration Service, Civil Society Organisations, and youth groups, among others.

IOM Ghana launches 'Waka well, fa kwan pa so' campaign to inform youth about migration-related decisions

In Ghana, the campaign targets the Bono and Bono East regions due to the high number of migrant returnees from these regions.

According to IOM, 52% of over 18,000 Ghanaians who returned from Libya during the 2011 crisis were from the former Brong Ahafo Region.

Again, an IOM study conducted in the Techiman and Sunyani in October 2021 indicated that 19% people are aware of the dangers involved in irregular migration but still believe migrating is the only way to improve their lives.

Most of the respondents in the study aged 15-35 use social media for information without knowing whether the information is accurate or not.

At the campaign launch, the chief of mission of the IOM Ghana, Abibatou Wane, said the campaign, with support from the Migration Information Center in Sunyani and other stakeholders, seeks to address these and other migration-related issues to encourage safe migration and public action to stop the exploitation and human trafficking.

IOM Ghana launches 'Waka well, fa kwan pa so' campaign to inform youth about migration-related decisions
Abibatou Wane, Chief of Mission of the IOM Ghana

She said the youth is key to many of their interventions as the number of deaths, exploitations, and abuse during the migratory journey reaches high records.

“It is more important than ever to promote safe and informed migration. Raising awareness about the risks of irregular migration, the available regular pathways, and opportunities, allows migrants or potential migrants to make informed decisions, know their rights in the process, and possibly identify alternative actions”, she said, with the belief that the Waka Well campaign is timely.

The campaign, she said, is also a platform to help the youth to get information when they want to migrate, such as how to get their passports and information about the embassies, and most importantly, to know about what they have locally, in terms of training, scholarships, jobs, etc.

Abibatou Wane said the IOM would continue to work with the government through CSOs to improve the situation.

She, however, stressed the need for the government and the private sector to team up to provide opportunities for the youth, while providing needs-oriented education in a bid to prevent irregular migration.

She also urged the youth to seek migration-related and local opportunities information from the campaign’s online portal– WAKAWell.info/Ghana.

A resident of Sunyani, Richard Armah, migrated to Libya through irregular means in 2017 and almost lost his life.

IOM Ghana launches 'Waka well, fa kwan pa so' campaign to inform youth about migration-related decisions
Richard Armah. an irregular migrant returnee

“I worked at Fiapre tollbooth in Sunyani before I decided to travel abroad through Libya. In the middle of the journey, we were kidnapped and tortured. Petrol was poured on my legs and set on fire. Only three of us, out of nine, survived”, he narrated his ordeal.

 He said he was ill-informed and he could have used his money to trade in Ghana and still live a comfortable life, hence advising the youth to use the right way if they must travel, else they may not survive the risk.

Dormaa East Chief Executive, Emmanuel Kofi Agyeman, also appealed to the youth to explore the many opportunities in their communities while the government continues to develop the local economy to create more.

The IOM campaign also focuses on other West African countries, including Nigeria and the Gambia.