Action! Awareness Raising Mobile Cinema Tours The Gambia

Action! Awareness raising mobile cinema tours The Gambia. Photo: IOM

Banjul - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in The Gambia officially launched on 27 March 2019 the fifth edition of CinemArena, a six-week mobile cinema initiative aimed at raising awareness on the risks of and alternatives to irregular migration.

From 26 March to 4 May, the outdoor mobile cinema will tour The Gambia for nightly community events, reaching 31 villages across all regions. Its aim is to empower individuals to make informed decisions about their migratory journeys by screening short videos and documentaries highlighting the realities of irregular migration, utilizing comedy to stimulate dialogue and engaging community leaders and members in a debate.

Established in 2002 by the Government of Italy, CinemArena is an information and education campaign that utilizes film, music, theatre and other entertainment activities to sensitize communities on various social and health issues. The project, now on its seventeenth year, involves a caravan travelling through the most remote African routes, bringing outdoor cinema events to villages.

“The use of cinema to entertain and inform people is an innovative idea to mobilize audiences,” remarked Lamin Darboe, Executive Director of the National Youth Council, a key partner of CinemArena in The Gambia. “We hope this is another milestone in educating people; the aim is not to tell them they should not migrate, but to provide balanced information.”

The 2018/2019 iteration of CinemArena was a product of a partnership between IOM and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, the Italian Ministry of Interior and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Having seen previous successes raising awareness on sexual and reproductive health, landmines and other social issues, CinemArena was determined to be a creative way to address irregular migration along dangerous routes—creating synergies with IOM’s “Aware Migrants” campaign.

Financed by Italy’s Africa Fund, CinemArena has focused on the main countries of origin of migrants arriving in Europe by sea, namely Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Nigeria and Senegal. “This will help communities better understand the drivers leading youth to migrate irregularly,” expressed Alhagie Camara, a returnee from Libya recruited to help facilitate the events.

The Gambia is the final stop in this edition of CinemArena, having visited over 100 villages since October 2018. “We hope that, by the end of the tour, communities are able to engage in an enriched discussion on irregular migration: what it means to them, how we should address it, and how we can provide Gambian youth alternatives to it,” stated Fumiko Nagano, IOM Chief of Mission in The Gambia.


For more information, please contact Miko Alazas at IOM The Gambia; Tel: +220 330 3168, Email:

SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals