Our students and academic coordinator Claudia Orozco recently participated at the 10th International Advocacy Workshop organized by the International Federation for Family Development (IFFD) and the Universidad Panamericana in partnership with the Institute of Analysis in Family Policies of Mexico (IAPF, for its initials in Spanish).
“The future is in the hands of everyone, specially in the hands of the young ones” said Olivier Yao, World President of the International Federation for Family Development, in the welcoming remarks.
Having the assistance of one hundred active participants from thirty four different countries around the world, adult professionals in family studies have remarked that the soul of the society is the family and it must be protected and advocated for.
In the first lecture, Zither Mokomane, associate professor in Demography, Health, and Society from the University of Pretoria, South Africa, talked about “Confronting the challenges of migration”. She insisted on the importance of providing a theoretical framework to the audience in terms of migration.
Migration is as a demographic process that adds or subtracts from the members of a population or society. We must understand that, in order for us to classify this process or change of residence like “migration”, three conditions must be satisfied:
- It should be a permanent or semi-permanent change in residence,
- It must cross some administrative boundary,
- it must occur during a given time.
Once the concepts were clarified, students within the room and also people who joined via Zoom, talked about the main issues on family and migration; such as:
- Respecting human rights;
- Protecting families that are separated, specially guaranteeing family reunification after transnational motherhood (the separation of mothers who have to go abroad leaving their children behind);
- Supporting migrants in the basic needs such as health (including mental health), housing, social assistance;
- Having changes in the educational curriculum so those migrant children have the opportunity to keep on studying;
- Guaranteeing that the cities are “Family sustainable cities”.
Generally, we must understand that the problem of migration has multifactorial causes and it must be address from and integral point of view.
Ignacio Socias, Director of Communication and International Relationship of IFFD, remarked that the main objective of this Workshop is to learn how to produce an advocacy plan.
Later in the morning, we listened to Sylvia Tubielewicz-Olejnik, Director of International Cooperation from the Kujawsko-Pomorskie, from Poland, the mother land of our dear founder Saint John Paul II. Sylvia commented how Poland has received Ukrainian Refugees this year. It turns out that 44.9% of the immigrants are women from all ages and 47,9% are children; men are staying back home, standing up for their country. Family separation in this circumstance is heart-breaking. With this good practice, Poland teaches the world how to be hospitable and caring.
We also listened to a good practice within Mexico. Nicole Ramos, Director of the “Al Otro Lado’s Border Rights Project”, shared their experience in working with family reunification (defined as “family members migrate after the arrival of a principal migrant who sponsors their admission”).
Professionals who give their life to serve immigrants are following a deep call to give their best for the less favored. Migration stories can be deeply moving. In fact, migration is an emotional topic for professionals involved in helping immigrants. In the Project directed by Nicole, there are generous leave policies, job schedules, weekly processing sessions, among other efforts to help the professionals to prevent, for example, burnout syndrome. We understand that these professionals who accompany immigrants should be, first of all, well; so they can help others generously.
Nicole didn’t loose the moment to say that the “Al Otro Lado’s Border Rights Project” is always opened to receive volunteers from around the world.
At the end of our journey, an advocacy plan was formed by the help of three facilitators: Diane Ngankam Yanou, from Africa, Dianett Vega – ex student from our Institute in Mexico and Jaja Djau, from the Netherlands.
An advocacy plan is a document good in political influence that helps to clearly define an issue and possible solutions to tackle it. In this day, we talked about Families and migration. In this advocacy plan, we all established measurable objectives, defined message points, determined the communication activities to deliver those messages, decided what resources are necessary to complete each activity, established a timeline and responsible party for each activity, and fixed how to evaluate whether you have reached your objectives. You may consult the complete advocacy plan is available here.