IOM concludes training cycle for Information Hub staff to inform and assist in times of COVID-19
In response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) developed a series of trainings for Information Hubs staff to adapt their services for migrants to the virtual world. This was based on a short practical guide (Spanish) published by IOM for this purpose, which complemented the existing manual (Spanish) about this topic.
Information Hubs are centers that provide secure and accurate information on migration procedures, services for migrants, the risks of irregular migration and regular migration options. They are coordinated by national and local authorities and supported by IOM. The training process was completed on 11 June, following five online workshops involving 182 participants from 11 countries.
Subsequently, two sessions were devoted to the methodology of Psychological First Aid (PFA), a tool that supports the proper management of stress and other emotions, promoting healthy coping with crises. PFA has the advantage that it does not require people with training in psychology to be used, but can be provided by anyone who has been trained. Thanks to these sessions, there are now staff with these skills at Information Hubs throughout the region.
Considering the increased amount of information being handled through digital channels, the third session addressed basic data protection issues, while the fourth session addressed the role of Information Hubs in labor migration. The International Labor Organization (ILO) has anticipated that the pandemic will destroy millions of jobs, and this could translate into more movements of people in search of employment. In preparation for this moment, the staff of the Information Hubs learned about bilateral agreements, entrepreneurship programs, job boards, recruitment agencies and common fraudulent practices, among other topics.
"These spaces allow us to acquire new knowledge to better serve our users. I have learned a lot from exchanging experiences with Information Hubs colleagues from other countries," said Claudia Castellanos, coordinator of the Municipal Office for Children and director of the Information Hub in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
"We learned a lot about life support and empathy in order to provide care for migrants, even if it's from a distance," added Pamela Varela of the Information and Transactional Hub in Upala, Costa Rica.
These efforts have been developed within the framework of the Regional Program on Migration Mesoamerica- The Caribbean, funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM).