Training from the Heart

In an effort to make host communities more aware of the needs of vulnerable migrant populations in Tanzania, IOM conducts workshops for community members. But feedback from participants showed that key messages were not being absorbed and skills were not being applied. IOM decided to change the approach by changing the messenger.

Haji* is one of IOM Tanzania’s newest trainers. He leads varied IOM workshops for government officials, civil society groups and community members in Moshi District on key migration topics including counter-trafficking, protection of vulnerable migrants, migrant health and border management. While born in Tanzania, Haji comes from a family that migrated to Tanzania decades ago to escape violence in neighboring Congo and he feels committed to helping local communities better understand and aid new arrivals in his country.

He represents a new kind of trainer for the programme, one who speaks from the heart and personal experience and one who can gain the trust and confidence of locals.

The shift in approach results from feedback received through post-training questionnaires. After each workshop, participants fill out surveys on the substance of the training and the delivery of information. Three to six months later, participants are asked to fill out a second questionnaire to assess whether information and skills are being used.

Results of the second questionnaire repeatedly showed that critical messages were not getting through to participants and sentiments and behaviors were generally unchanged.

The IOM team decided to train a new cadre of trainers, and selected willing individuals who had already taken the workshop and whose personalities and personal histories would lend themselves to becoming more compelling and effective messengers.

A "Training of Trainers" workshop was held for future trainers like Haji, where they explored their own families’ histories of migration and how to use these personal histories to relate to recent migrant experiences. By the end of the workshop, even the way the trainees talked about migrants had changed, for example, using the more accurate term “irregular” rather than "illegal" to refer to undocumented migrants.

"The new trainers have brought more passion and confidence to the workshops they lead," says an IOM project officer in Tanzania. "As they share their own experiences, their peers listen to their messages of acceptance and care for migrants. Responses to questionnaires now show that our messages are getting through and are being put into practice."