By Aisha Tamba
CinemArena—the mobile cinema initiative launched in 2002 has arrived in The Gambia to help demonstrate risks of irregular migration.
First launched by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, (MAECI) and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, it has now come to The Gambia after those two institutions partner the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). The launching of the new initative was staged at a local hotel in Senegambia.
The project involves a caravan travelling through the most remote African routes in Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, The Gambia, Nigeria and Sudan bringing outdoor cinema events to more than 200 villages. The aim is to promote an information campaign that demonstrates the risks of irregular migration.
Fumiko Nagano, the IOM Chief of Mission, said the initiative is financed by the government of Italy’s Africa Fund.
She said the campaign started in 2016 to inform potential migrants about the real dangers of the ‘backway’.
“The outdoor mobile cinema will tour The Gambia for nightly community events, reaching 30 villages across all regions. The Gambia is the final stop in this edition, having toured Cote d’ivoir, Guinea Conakry, Nigeria and Senegal, and visited over 100 villages since October 2018,” she stated.
“Migrants arriving in Italy often tell us to have left their countries without being fully aware of the difficulties of the journey and of the violence they would have been subjected to,” explained Federico Soda, director of IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean. “The Aware Migrants Information Campaign – financed by the Italian Ministry of Interior – was launched two years ago for these migrants (not refugees) with the aim of informing them by using video testimonies on the risks of the journey, and of enabling them to take free and informed decisions.”
The caravan first began its tour on 1 October in Senegal, in the village of Pekin.
CinemArena then moved to Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea and Sudan and finally The Gambia.