Tens of thousands of users in and from Africa, the Middle East as well as Afghanistan and Pakistan have used the online platform "InfoMigrants" since its launch four months ago.
Pope Francis recently expressed his "sincere appreciation for this important initiative," a cooperation between Deutsche Welle (DW), France Médias Monde (FMM) and Italian news agency ANSA.
Available in three languages – English, Arabic and French – the offerings on the websites and across social media include daily news briefings as well as refugees’ reports of personal experiences, plus educational pieces. In June, the three websites jointly reached more than 180,000 page impressions, 70 percent via mobile devices. The majority of users - about 80 percent - are male, with an average age between 18 and 24 years old. The English-language Facebook page has more than 63,000 followers, the French account 57,000 and the Arabic one 42,500. Most "likes" on the English-language Facebook page in the past week originated from Pakistan, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Ethiopia. The Arabic-language page is predominantly being used by those in transit as well as in Europe.
DW program director Gerda Meuer: "'InfoMigrants' achieves two objectives: for one thing, we shed light on the circumstances of refugees in Europe, but we also underscore the dangers involved in embarking on perilous journeys for migrants, such as false promises made by human traffickers, for example. Our videos for social media, checking the facts and giving hands-on advice to refugees, are doing particularly well."
By committing to ongoing exchange and cooperation with international NGOs and other institutions "InfoMigrants" manages to expand its range of information. New videos produced by German consumer organizations help educate refugees about everyday business matters. “InfoMigrants” also provides information about the program “Starthilfe Plus,” funded by the German government, which provides assistance for voluntary repatriation.
The content of "InfoMigrants" is also being distributed by the three cooperation partners, DW, FMM and ANSA on their own platforms. Germany's and France’s international broadcasters reach broad audiences in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The Arabic-language DW Facebook account has 3,4 million followers. The project expands upon the offerings DW already has in place for newly arrived migrants, including the dossier “First steps in Germany,” language learning tools and a project for refugees from Afghanistan and Pakistan funded by the German foreign ministry.