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21 March 2018

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Syrian refugees join host community members in IOM-organised tour of Istanbul. ©IOM

Tech for Change: Digital Tools Foster Integration

By Sarah Durlofsky

Nina Kov, a choreographer from Hungary, was in Budapest in the summer of 2015 when migrants were streaming into her country’s capital city. Kov and her husband immediately had an “Aha!” moment: they realized migrants could benefit from an app that would help them adapt to the new places they were reaching each day.

They developed an app, named InfoAid, that was piloted in Budapest while the city was taking in thousands of migrants. The app covered everything from understanding a new city’s train schedule to knowing whether tap water there is safe to drink. InfoAid is accessible for migrants with restricted phone plans, and is available in multiple languages. It even features an online translation chat room staffed by volunteer translators. Since the Kovs launched InfoAid, a myriad of new mobile phone applications has been designed to help migrants upon arrival in lots of countries.

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Ms. Olombunmi speaking at the Los Angeles anti-slavery rally in January.

Stories of Migration: Bringing People TOGETHER

By Tolu Olombunmi

I was five years old when I traveled across the borders of Nigeria, my birth country, for the first time.

I still have a fuzzy memory of filling my brown bear backpack with toys at home in Lagos – and then playing with my cousins in Brussels. The memory brings back those feelings of joy sprinkled with wonder. As a child, I did not understand what it took to get me from Africa to Europe – not the security bestowed by my passport nor the convenience and safety afforded me by air travel.

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Are you passionate about combatting anti-migrant rhetoric, and confident in the digital media space? If so, consider applying for IOM's TOGETHER App influencer program, which is part of the United Nations TOGETHER Campaign. The TOGETHER App is a new social media mobile application, that aims to harness digital tools in the fight against xenophobia. If you would like to apply, please email together@iom.int.

Please refer to our website for more information about the campaign and the app.


Diana: "I don't want to define myself either as exclusively African or Italian. I want to show the complexity of diversity."

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Migration in the News

  • Bangkok Post reported about a new programme that helps migrants gain additional skills to improve their employment opportunities.
  • Prensa Latina reported that over 770 undocumented migrants died worldwide from January 1 up to now – 64 per cent of them in the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Information Nigeria shared the story of a Nigerian couple who were among the migrants recently arrived from Libya under the EUTF-IOM joint initiative for migrant protection and reintegration in Nigeria.
  • Xinhua reported that 12,983 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through the first 11 weeks of 2018.
  • Ghana News Agency reported that although it was generally assumed that African migration flows are mainly directed toward Europe, existing evidence indicates that most migration in West Africa happens within the region.
  • Fox News reported that thousands of returning former Afghan refugees who lived in Pakistan have had a difficult time adjusting to life back in their native country.
  • Christian Science Monitor reported that Colombia, which borders Venezuela, has borne the brunt of Venezuelan migration amid that country’s economic crisis.
  • Xinhua reported that Parliamentarians from more than 137 countries are meeting next week to work on parliamentary inputs to the United Nations-led reforms on the rights and protection of migrants and refugees.
  • FAO published a new report that urges avoiding mutual aggravation of links between water scarcity and migration.
  • Café Babel reported that two decades after the war that tore their country apart, citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina are still hoping to join the European Union as several thousand flee to the West in hope of a better life.
  • Open Democracy published an op-ed which noted that India’s new trafficking bill seeks a wide array of new powers to punish, but does nothing to address the causes of exploitation in the first place.
  • DFID UK reported that the UK is stepping up its efforts to help Rohingya men, women and children living in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
  • Daily Maverick published an op-ed which noted that migration is one of the key shapers of socio-political change, provoking the rise of xenophobic political parties in Europe.

Trending on the Internet

  • BBC reported that some Belgians are opening their homes to migrants on their way to the UK, giving them a bed for the night. But not everyone thinks that giving shelter to people planning to cross the channel irregularly is a good idea.
  • Al Jazeera reported that human rights groups have warned of a campaign of intimidation after Italian authorities seized a Spanish rescue ship and threatened criminal charges against some of its crew members who refused to hand over rescued refugees and migrants to the Libyan coastguard.


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IOM Media and Communications team here.