People have moved along the Abidjan-Lagos corridor throughout history – the many cultures of the region shaped by this migration.
In recent years, many children in particular have been motivated to move along this path through West Africa – which links the capital cities of Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria – by the development of towns along the route which provide them with new economic, educational and employment opportunities.
But this movement carries risks, especially for children and juveniles. Trafficking in persons is rife in the area, particularly of women and children, with minors looking for employment also at risk of being used as child labourers or exploited in other ways.
To combat these dangers, the African Movement of Working Children and Youth – who together with Terre des Hommes and ENDA Jeunesse Action run the CORAL project – carried out a workshop where children from along the corridor produced illustrations highlighting the issues youngsters moving through the corridor face.
First, the young participants were asked a series of questions about their own experiences of migration. They then used their answers to think of situations which demonstrated the causes, consequences and solutions to the problems they faced when travelling.
The children then drew expressive illustrations of these situations, which will now be used to encourage families and communities as a whole to spot and act on any dangers children moving through their local areas experience. They may also learn a thing or two themselves about what life is like as a child moving to find work.
Informing families, communities, children and youth affected by migration about the possible risks of such movement is not just being done through these drawings. Another CORAL initiative has been working with 15 journalists at five different radio stations along the corridor to more accurately report on the issue.
Journalists were shown how their programmes can encourage communities to protect these vulnerable children, and educate them on what life is like for youngsters on the move. The reporters who took part in the project were eager to learn more about migration issues, and CORAL now hopes to enlarge this group of journalists ‘specialised’ on child rights and migration in the region thanks to funding from the European Union.
It is essential that communities are involved in providing genuine protection to children moving through the Abidjan-Lagos corridor. Through drawings and radios, families and journalists, the CORAL project is working to give these communities all the information they need to protect some of West Africa’s most vulnerable children.
Resources for Journalists:
Guidance for journalists reporting on children: This guidance for journalists has been produced to help them to report children views with precision and appropriate terminology.