Community leaders and key actors use Communication for Development to prevent irregular migration in the region

El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico
5 April, 2019


In 2018, the Regional Migration Program: Mesoamerica-The Caribbean of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) selected four communities in Guatemala (Salcajá), Honduras (Cofradía), Mexico (Tapachula), and El Salvador (Ahuachapán) with the goal of implementing communication for development processes aimed at promoting positive behavioral change with respect to migration.  

As a starting point, IOM carried out a base investigation interviewing approximately 2,000 people to measure the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of potential migrants in these communities. In the case of Mexico, these interviews were held with migrants in transit. In total, 449 adult men and women were interviewed in Honduras, 457 in Guatemala, 556 in El Salvador, and 523 in Mexico. The majority of the people surveyed stated that their primary motive for migrating was to find work, followed by reasons tied to violence and insecurity, and finally family reunification. Additionally, the majority of people planning to migrate claimed to be unaware of local alternatives in their communities of origin.

Based on these data, workshops were held in the four communities from March 18 to April 2, 2019. In addition to building the participants’ capacity to use communication for development, their primary objective was to define, in a participatory way, the audiences and focus of community communication campaigns which will be supported by IOM. 

“This workshop is very important because it is on a topic that is new and relevant in our town. It also serves as a space to involve all sectors in order to make the campaign a success,” expressed Roxana Acosta, of the Municipal Committee for Violence Prevention of the municipality of Ahuachapán, in El Salvador.

The participatory focus is a key component for achieving success in these types of campaigns; it supports the leadership of the community itself to encourage positive change in knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. Participants in the workshops included community leaders, social organizations, government and municipal institutions, and the academic sector, among others.

For his part, Jorge Peraza, Chief of Mission of IOM for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras stated that, “This methodology is proposed as an innovative way to plan, execute, and evaluate communication activities with the goal of positive behavioral change to contribute to sustainable social development in the communities.” 

For more information, contact Tatiana Chacón, Communication for Development Official of the Program: