Communication for social change allows people to improve their lives through civic participation in governance—which has historically been weak in Haiti. Media is also a tool for development, as the use of media to express needs, dissatisfaction, etc. enhances public services and empowers marginalized groups.
The lingua franca of the Haitian population is Creole, but newspapers and much official communication are in French. In order to serve the most vulnerable (and frequently illiterate) members of society, IOM produces culturally appropriate Creole language public service communications using video, cartoons and radio. Amongst these culturally adapted communications tools is the Creole language newspaper Chimen Lakay or ‘The Way Home’ that targets low literacy Haitians, i.e. some 80% of the population. The story-telling approach fills a vacuum of civic communications. Life-saving messages are produced on demand for a variety of humanitarian actors. Presented in the form of a colorful comic strip adventure story, Chimen Lakay offers advice in an accessible form on subjects such as hurricane preparedness, cholera prevention and public health, fire safety for IDP living in camps, road safety, domestic violence and women’ rights, child protection and the strategy of return programmes.
All these activities, and others, allow the IOM Communications unit to support other IOM Units in their activities and operations, through the production of graphic, and/or in Creole language, communication material. Such material is notably used for registration operations, return activities and sensitization and awareness-raising on diverse topics.