IOM to Partner with Belize Government for Comprehensive Village Survey
The International Office of Migration in Belize (IOM) is looking to partner with several government agencies to survey one hundred ninety-two villages in the country. The intergovernmental agency plans to work with the Ministry of Rural Transformation, the Vital Statistics Unit, and the National Association of Village Councils to assess various aspects of rural life. The initiative dubbed, “the village survey” seeks to create profiles of each village to document areas of concern and needs. Diana Locke, Head of Office of IOM Belize, explained that the organization has already received the green light from its headquarters. She spoke to us from Turkey, Istanbul, and spoke about the importance of the undertaking.
Diana Locke, Head of International Office Of Migration: “Our second year in a row because we have a new director general and so we are meeting with her and our finance personnel as well as myself we are here and we are 180 something of us from all over the world here, countries, and so we are discussing the new strategic vision and priorities for IOM as well as strategic plans for our individual countries. So basically as I mentioned to you earlier one of the highlights of this discussion is the legal identity that we are having and so in the context we are in Belize we are looking-that is an area that we are looking at very closely. We are also looking at a project we are going to be planning to be doing with the Ministry of Labor it’s called building the capacities of rural leadership but basically it contains an element of a survey which will be gathering demographic data, community data so it covers a wide range of things. We are doing this in partnership with the with NAVCO which is countrywide and so we have some questions that they have asked us to include. Hopefully this could be implemented by the end of this year or early next year. We would then be getting data which would support the government in the Ministry of Rural Development with information on communities across Belize, the 192 villages across Belize they will have access to the information. We will also have access to information in terms of legal identity needs for people across the country who is in need of a birth certificate, who is in need of a foreign country national ID or foreign country birth certificate, who is in need of replacing or getting immigration documents to regularize their stay or people who did not, we would more than likely encounter people who are stateless. We could also encounter people who were not able to get into the amnesty for whatever reason so with this data we hope to be able to share this data.”
Locke further added that the data collected will be shared with several public sector agencies. She says that a pilot project was completed in twenty villages and shared a snapshot of the data collected.
Diana Locke, Head of International Office Of Migration: “We were able to identify that over 800 persons, well 900 when you include marriage certificates that need vital statistical support in the Toledo district. We found out about 500 people needed immigration support and about 1400 persons that needed support from social security after completing other processes. So that’s just a fraction of what’s happening in the south. As I said it’s only 20 villages out of the 48 in the south but we are doing this country-wide with the Ministry of Rural Development and so we expect to gather a lot more data which can definitely be shared with the government as well as with our UN partners who may have activities that they want to undertake in terms of our principle of leaving no one behind to provide assistance to people. Clearly as you can see if a person does not have a Belize social security card or any kind of identity document it becomes very difficult for them to do anything and I think it’s common knowledge that there are a number of persons who have not even been registered so we are hoping to be able to identify that population, to provide this information to key stakeholders who are in a position to do something about this that they would have that information readily available. For us at IOM that is one of legal identity is number four on our global compact for migration objectives so for us it’s very important. It’s also important for us because it’s something that would definitely affect the remainder of the work that we try to do as well as other partners and UN agencies and other stakeholders in migration. So for us that’s really a very important project that we are embarking on and we are going to see how it turns out from here. Hopefully by March of next year or by June at the latest we would have all of the data processed. We certainly have to complete that project before the end of August next year.”
The data will also be made available to other United Nation’s agencies