IOM Develops Practical Exercise for Mexican Institutions to Assist Migrant Children and Adolescents

3 August, 2021


On July 27 and 28, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), through the Western Hemisphere Program, presented its proposal "Migrant children and adolescents component of the Inter-Agency Guidance Framework for Assistance to Populations in International Mobility Affected by Emergencies or Crises in Mexico" to its key counterparts. 


In migratory contexts, children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable, for reasons such as lack of command of the local language, lack of communication tools to express their situation or separation from their family group. 


Emphasizing the importance of thinking of children and adolescents as a heterogeneous group, the practical exercise motivated participants to analyze the different experiences, conditions and needs they might be experiencing. 


"The simulation exercise allowed us to place ourselves in the context of emergency situations, to distinguish the needs, strengths and challenges we face for the care of migrant children and adolescents, affected by emergencies", said Elizabeth Reyes Vidal, Head of the Department of Risk Management Assistance of the Institute of Civil Protection of the State of Tabasco. 


Other factors, such as having experienced violence along the route, as well as belonging to minority groups, could place migrant children at greater risk of violence and demand from different authorities to provide differentiated responses. For this reason, interinstitutional coordination is key. 


"The inter-agency meeting organized by IOM has been very beneficial, since it allows us to know what we are doing in each of the institutions and what we need to do to guarantee the care of children and adolescents in situations of mobility," added Stephanya Lopez, Head of the Monitoring and Evaluation Department of the Executive Secretariat of SIPINNA Tabasco. 


The exercise was attended by 27 people representing 12 institutions, including the Mexican Red Cross, the State Population Council COESPO Chihuahua, the Leona Vicario Center for Migrant Integration, DIF, COESPO, National Migration Institute, State Coordination of Civil Protection Northern Zone INM Beta Sanitary Jurisdiction Group, National Migration Institute State Coordination of Civil Protection Northern Zone, National Employment Service in Juárez and SIPINNA Juárez. 


This activity was developed within the framework of IOM’s Western Hemisphere Program, funded by the United States Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.