Benin: Tdh discusses child migration with Doris Leuthard
Switzerland and Benin have the same national day! The 1st August is the occasion for us to talk about Doris Leuthard’s visit to Cotonou in Benin this July. The President of the Swiss Confederation met with Jean-Luc Imhof, Terre des hommes’ Programme Manager for East and West Africa, to discuss the issue of child migration.
Over the next three years, the Swiss Confederation will give CHF 80 million to Benin, one of the poorest countries in the world. This financial assistance, ratified in July by President Leuthard in Cotonou, will support family-owned farms, basic education and vocational training programmes for young people – all of which help prevent child exploitation.
President Leuthard, who considers child migration an important issue, discussed existing protection measures with our Programme Manager for East and West Africa, Jean-Luc Imhof. Children often travel many kilometres to find work in countries bordering the Gulf of Guinea. The initiatives run by Terre des hommes (Tdh) span the Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria.
In particular, Tdh presented an ambitious project currently being run in coordination with ENDA and the AMWCY (the African Movement of Working Children and Youth), with support from local ministries and communities. As part of this project, Tdh and local partners are working to reduce migration-related risks for 25,000 young people identified by their communities. Tdh’s network enables it to provide support to those travelling between Abidjan and Lagos, or those making the dangerous journey to Europe. This joint and coordinated effort seeks to minimise the risks of ill treatment, abuse and trafficking for migrant children.
“Our activities support exploited children to find help, know about their rights and to improve their situation. We empower local institutions, communities and parents to set up local structures which prevent risky migration of children to Europe,” explains Jean-Luc Imhof. “Given these children’s many needs, Doris Leuthard’s interest in our Benin project is a positive and reassuring sign.”
Photo credit: ©KEYSTONE/Alexandra Wey