Marshall Tinashe Patsanza

Marshall Tinashe Patsanza: Using digital and social media to combat human trafficking and exploitation

A trend among graduates of the Rhodes University School of Journalism and Media
Studies sees alumni using skills gained in both their degree studies and in their
journalistic experience to work to better the lives of others. As alumni enter the world of
journalism, many of them are introduced to the harsh realities behind the stories they
report on, and they do not stay silent, or on the sidelines, when their skills and empathy
are needed.
Marshall Tinashe Patsanza is such an alum. He has been awarded a JMS50 Alumni
Award for his work in the digital, online space to prevent human trafficking and to
promote humane and orderly migration across borders. He has worked for the IOM-UN
(International Organization for Migration – United Nations) since 2015, filling a variety of
roles for the organisation in digital communications, from digital outreach and content
producer to his current role as head of social media. IOM-UN is the leading
intergovernmental organisation in the field of migration, and is committed to the principle
that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society.
Patsanza is well versed in the need for education in the fast-moving world of media; he
has been an integral part of developing the Global Migration Media Academy (GMMA),
a unique platform designed to standardise media training, as well as strengthen ethical
and accurate reporting, on migration. His experience in digital content production has
given him a keen eye for spotting digital trends, and, in the crowded and fast-moving
social media environment, he is able to assess which platforms will best deliver the
message he wishes to convey, and to which audience.
Some of the standout campaigns in which Patsanza has been involved include acting
as coordinator for the It Takes A Community social cohesion campaign, initiated by the
Global Forum on Migration and Development. A multi-stakeholder initiative, the
campaign aims to promote a balanced and evidence-based public narrative on
migration. Patsanza was also responsible for coordinating and ensuring the visibility of
the IOM’s humanitarian assistance in Syria and the Refugee Response projects in
Southeastern Turkey, and creates online and digital content for IOM’s counter trafficking
awareness campaign, IOM X. This campaign, which leverages the power of social
media, engages young people from south east Asia and makes them aware of the
dangers of human trafficking and exploitation in the region. Patsanza describes his role
as being to continuously invent new ways of creating and packaging online content to
keep the online audience of half a million people captivated and engaged.