IOM, in cooperation with the Sinaloa Secretariat of Public Education and Culture, will carry out a seven-month project to examine migratory routes in six Mexican states (Chiapas, Chihuahua, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa and Sonora) and document existing access to education for children of internal agricultural labour migrants, known as jornaleros.
The results of the study will be used to generate a diagnostic map of the geographical coverage of the country’s Basic Education Programme for Children of Internal Agricultural Labour Migrants (PRONIM by its Spanish acronym), who move with their parents as they follow planting and harvesting seasons, and determine where it should be extended.
“This study will allow IOM and its partners to shed some light on the needs of a population which is often overlooked in a country where international migration dynamics regularly occupy the headlines. This new cooperation with the northwestern state of Sinaloa is a good example of IOM’s deepening relationship with federal states entities,” explains IOM Mexico Chief of Mission, Thomas Lothar Weiss.
The project also aims to reinforce and build upon the efforts made by federal and state governments to provide education and social services to this largely vulnerable group of the migrant population in Mexico.
“Another issue is that when these families return to their communities of origin and try to enroll their children in school, the classes received as part of the programme for children of internal agricultural labour migrants are sometimes not recognized by the regular school system,” adds Denisse Velázquez of IOM Mexico.
The information gathered will also be used to raise public awareness by highlighting the vulnerability and daily challenges faced by these children, as well as to increase their safety and the protection of their rights.
The new research and action lines generated by the study will provide fresh information for the development of future educational programmes for migrant children and adolescents in Mexico.
It is estimated that there are some 3.5 million Mexican agricultural labourers in the country, of which 760,000 are migrant children and adolescents.
“IOM and the Federal Secretariat of Public Education have agreed on the importance of documenting and establishing a project to cater to the needs of these children. There is so little known about them except that they are highly vulnerable. Their young age makes them especially vulnerable to human trafficking for labour exploitation,” concludes Weiss.
In Mexico, IOM provides support and assistance to vulnerable migrants, especially unaccompanied minors and since 2008, it has trained Mexican Child Protection Officers (OPIs by its Spanish acronym) and has helped disseminate this initiative in several Central American countries and the Dominican Republic as part of the Regional Conference on Migration (RCM).
IOM has also organized and carried out various research projects offering public policy recommendations. A recent publication, Central American Child and Adolescent Migrants in Southern Mexican Populations highlights many of the issues that will be covered under this new initiative.