Accra, Ghana – IOM Ghana launched the song and video No Place Like Home by Kofi Kinaata, Goodwill Ambassador on Safe Migration in Takoradi on 26 April 2018. The launch was part of a three day awareness raising campaign on the dangers of irregular migration conducted in the Western Region, one of the main areas of origin for Ghanaian returnees from Libya.
The Ghanaian Rapper and Songwriter (Kofi Kinaata) was appointed the UN Migration Agency’s first Goodwill Ambassador to promote safe migration in Ghana in November 2017. Through the song, but also through direct engagement with communities and youth, Kofi Kinaata will support the Agency’s awareness raising campaigns.
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The song encourages the listener to think critically about the choice to migrate irregularly – saying that in our haste to make money, we forget that the grass is not actually always greener on the other side and that there are opportunities in Ghana.
Kofi Kinaata drew inspiration for the song from personal experiences of friends from Takoradi who have migrated irregularly as well as from a recent trip to the Brong Ahafo Region where he has accompanied IOM in sensitization tours in Sunyani and Nkoranza.
In 2016 alone, 5,636 Ghanaian migrants arrive in Italy by sea, an increase from 4,431 in 2015. Most Ghanaians trying to reach Europe travel through Libya, where currently tens of thousands of the estimated 700,000 migrants living in the country suffer horrendous human rights abuses. Since June 2017, under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative on Migrant Protection and Reintegration in Ghana, IOM has supported the return of 496 Ghanaians from Libya, and is in the process of facilitating their reintegration in their communities of return.
Awareness raising sessions were carried out with communities in Takoradi, New Takoradi and Sekondi in the Western Region through community events, focus group discussions and radio talk shows. Kofi Kinaata also accompanied IOM Ghana staff, Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) officers and members of the European Union Delegation to Ghana to his alma mater, Takoradi Technical Institute (TTI) to speak to the students on the dangers of irregular migration and the importance of making informed decisions.
IOM Ghana also took this opportunity to award three young Ghanaians who emerged winners for the “Make It Happen In Africa” Competition, aimed at highlighting the opportunities for youth in Ghana. The winner submitted a video explaining the potential of agriculture to curb poverty and hunger in Ghana. He’s the founder of “I think Agric”, a NGO focused on changing the mentality that agriculture is a punishment and a career only for the poorest. He is also the co-founder of Youth Feed Ghana, a project which establishes farms in rural communities.
The launching of “No Place Like Home” and the awards ceremony for “Make it Happen” in Africa contest was attended by community members, youth as well as special guests including the Regional Minister, Metropolitan Chief Executive and Traditional and Religious Leaders.
Sylvia Lopez-Ekra, the Chief of Mission for IOM Ghana congratulated the three young Ghanaians for their contribution in highlighting the opportunities that are available to youth in Ghana. She also said “it is of utmost importance that we continue to explore all avenues of raising awareness amongst the youth in Ghana on the real dangers of irregular migration, and even more importantly how they can access opportunities that exist here in Ghana.”
The awareness raising activities in Western Region were supported by the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in Ghana funded by the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. The Make it Happen in Africa and development of the song and video “No Place Like Home” was supported by the German Federal Foreign Office under the project Aware Migrants – Engaging Communities in West Africa.