How West African migrants engage with migration information en-route to Europe
Studies on communication channels used by migrants and asylum seekers to obtain information in countries of origin and transit, with particular focus on online and social media - Study
As part of the European Union’s comprehensive approach to the migration crisis, the Directorate General for Migration and Home Affairs (DG Home) commissioned Optimity Advisors and Seefar to strengthen the evidence based on communications for migration in West Africa and the Central Mediterranean route, as well as information gathering by migrants and asylum seekers travelling from West Africa to Europe. The study findings will support the development of a strategic communications campaign aimed at influencing migratory choices in countries of origin and transit. A mixed methods study was... designed to address the research questions. Fieldwork was carried out between May and July 2017: - Review of the literature on migration and people smuggling from West Africa and through the Central Mediterranean route. - A quantitative survey of 1,053 ‘potential’ migrants in Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia , Guinea, Mali, and Nigeria. - Qualitative in-depth interviews with 85 West African migrants in transit in Agadez, Niger and in Libya - Sabha, Bani Walid, Zuara, Sabratha. - Qualitative in-depth interviews with 30 returnees from Europe and Libya or Niger. - Qualitative in-depth interviews with 15 Malians who had considered irregular migration but changed their plans, conducted in Bamako and Mopti. - Social media and online analysis using automated and manual searches of social media and online sources based on key words and phrases present in migrant interviews. Researchers noted that with more time and resources, more sophisticated APIs can be utilised, allowing access and analysis of a greater volume of data. - The social media analysis included 10 additional short interviews in Mali13 to further investigate the use of social media and online information in decisions around irregular migration. These qualitative insights were designed as a case study to give some contextual understanding to quantitative findings. The findings of the report are shaped around evidence of 1) the kind of messages that influence migratory behaviour, namely how migrants make decisions to migrate, and 2) the expectations of migration versus the reality; and 3) the sources of trusted information that shape decision-making, the channels by which it reaches migrants and potential migrants, and finally 4) the specific role of social media.