New Research into ICTs and Youth Migration

Last year I gave a presentation (by Skype) at a conference at Columbia University hosted by the Oak Foundation and Plan International USA, exploring the use and impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) on children on the move. I shared about the work of Refugee Support Network in integrating ICTs into their Youth on the Move programme, and a multimedia advocacy project I'm launching this year in conjunction with the London-based charity.

On December 3rd Plan USA released the report 'Modern Mobility: The role of ICTs in Child and Youth Migration', drawing on conversations at the conference and research conducted with organisations implementing ICTs in their work with young migrants at different stages of the migration process.

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The report provides a broad overview of the role of ICTs in child/youth migration, looks at how and why children/youth (without outside support) use ICTs at different phases of migration, outlines trends in how civil society organizations are using ICTs in their work with child/youth migrants and offers a checklist/advice on what to consider if designing ICT-enabled programs with children and youth on the move.

With an estimated 33 million (or some 16 percent) of the total migrant population younger than the age 
of 20 (UNICEF, 2011, PDF), the report covers new ground in assessing different ways that child and youth migrants use ICTs in the migration process, and how organisations working with them are using ICTs for research and data collection and visualisation, program communication and delivery, and public engagement and advocacy.

The report also highlights the lack of information on the impact that ICTs or ICT-enabled programs and services have on migrating children and youth, whether positive or negative.

The majority of practitioners interviewed had very little awareness of how other organisations were using ICTs, and a lack of knowledge of where to find orientation or guidance on good practice in the use of ICTs in child-centered programming, protection work, or work with young people at different stages of the migration journey.

Among the recommendations in the report was to establish an active community of practice on ICTs and children and youth on the move, which will go some way to addressing this. I look forward to contributing to future research on this emerging topic.

Download the report here (PDF).

For further information about the report, see this blog post from the lead author, Linda Raftree.

Photograph © Mary Mitchell, 2013