Conversation with Abrham Tarmat from the IOM on radio and migration

UNESCO is pleased to make the audio and text of this interview available copy-right free for the celebration of World Radio Day 2019. Radio stations are especially encouraged to broadcast the interview, either in its totality or by exacting the answers and announcing the questions themselves.

UNESCO spoke to Mr Abrham Tarmat, the programme manager behind “Aboard Mata” , a radio series recently launched by the International Organization of Migration.

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Q. Thank you Abrham for joining us today. So, in October 2018, the international Organization of Migration launched a radio series “Abroad Mata”, would you share with us what this series is about?

“Abroad Mata” is a 13 episodes 30 minutes weekly radio program composing of weekly drama, titled “Waka Well”, with testimonials of returnees, live chats with experts and returnees. And there are also the audiences can call-in to ask questions on migration issues. It is a part of our promoting the use of Communication for Development as a concept, which is crafting and disseminating messages, and thus promoting behavioral change towards migration and in migration overall.

Q. So why was radio chosen as the medium and perhaps not TV?

Radio was selected based on our key target audiences, who are mainly at the grassroots level in rural areas where radio is the most accessible kind of media. Radio is largely affordable to this target community as one can access the channel and the radio program using even their cell phones.

Q. Focusing on the issue of migration, what do you think is radio’s contribution?

So, radio has a wider audience stage than other channels we have around here. And particularly in relation to migration, one of the main issues in migration, challenges are the misconception, the myths that needs to be demystified about migration, about the true contribution of migration to development and how migration can benefit the society and the community and the migrants themselves. And, in contributing, radio could be very powerful in promoting the social re-integration of returnees who want to go back home, by communicating the right and the correct information to migrants and returnees, to their communities. Radio can also be used to combat the challenges migrants face such as xenophobia.

Q. In your radio stations, how is audience participation managed?

Audience participation is managed at two levels, one is managed through a live phone-in interview during the radio program on the show, where the audience can contribute to the conversation. They can chip in their idea, on ways of promoting safe migration and in identifying the key challenges they are facing in the community and how to they relate to the stories in the radio program and getting answers from experts that are participating in that radio program. Furthermore, at another level, chat conversations are also referred to services like live chats and other services provided by the Migrant Resource Centers.

Q. So in your stories, which of the focus on gender equality or inequality?

All of our stories and program, from the very design, they are designed to focus on promoting gender equality, target gender inequality identified throughout the migration experience. Our volunteer work, that is also supporting this radio program at the community level, are composed of male and female, a balanced gender uptake to make sure that right messages are disseminated to the community.

Q. This year’s world radio day celebrates the theme Dialogue, Tolerance and Peace, what is your world radio day message?

Migration overall is a global trend, that is one of the most misunderstood areas where negative connotations and intolerance are witnessed against migrants. There is a need to dialogue among various stakeholders, and this can be done using radio, a very effective and affordable tool, to ensure participation starts from the grassroots level, and from there it also relies a message regarding migration and dialogue regarding safe migration.


Thank you for your time and thank you for being with us today.


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