In partnership with key stakeholders, including governmental, non-governmental, UN agencies and NGOs, IOM will enhance access to humanitarian assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs) and vulnerable communities, while strengthening the resilience of communities to respond to crisis and instability and achieve durable solutions to displacement.
Based on DTM data and analysis, IOM will respond to the humanitarian needs of vulnerable displaced and conflict-affected populations in the central and northern parts of the country. While the most recent needs analysis shows that two-thirds of the IDP population has sought shelter with host families, this encompasses a variety of situations, and IOM will support displaced populations both in host families and displacement sites. Particular attention will be paid to vulnerable groups such as displaced and unaccompanied children, young, pregnant and lactating women, disabled and elderly persons.
The latest Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) indicates that Emergency Shelter/NFI needs are likely to double in 2020. With many IDPs residing with host families or without shelter, living conditions for many are precarious. Recognizing the criticality of improving access to shelter for IDPs and host communities, IOM will ensure access to different types of emergency shelter for displaced populations through the distribution and prepositioning of emergency shelter kits and construction of emergency shelters. IOM will also ensure that the care, maintenance and upgrading of existing emergency shelters and transitional shelters are conducted for continued safety and dignity of the affected population in Mali. Considering the protracted nature of the displacement in urban settings such as in Gao (northern region) and Mopti (central region), the construction of transitional shelters will be preferred. Moreover, with the rainy season in the coming months (June to September), urgent action is needed to ensure that conflict-affected persons live in a safe environment and are sheltered appropriately. Therefore, IOM will also ensure that displaced persons and communities have access to materials and labour for repairing their damaged houses.
Additionally, in order to ensure affected population have access to adequate housing, basic goods and supplies so impacted communities can live in security and dignity, to prepare and consume food, provide thermal comfort, meet personal hygiene needs and build, maintain or repair their shelters, at all stages of the emergency cycle, NFI kits will be provided.
Additionally, cluster coordination is a crucial element to ensure that assistance and interventions comply with international minimum standards, that gaps are filled, and overlaps are avoided among the humanitarian partners in every country. Furthermore, as the Shelter and NFI Cluster co-lead with UNHCR, IOM will contribute to dedicated cluster coordination, aiming to reinforce its capacity in-country, in particular at the sub-national level. A dedicated information manager will reinforce the coordination with, and the support to, DNDS.
The Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) provides information to humanitarian actors in the country on the location, composition and needs of the affected population in order to deliver services and respond to the needs in a timely manner. With continued monitoring and tracking of displacement and needs analysis of vulnerable populations required to inform the humanitarian response, IOM will continue to provide technical and financial support to DNDS to ensure continued implementation of DTM while increasing the scope of its analysis, geographical coverage and frequency of reporting in order to cope with the rapidly deteriorating situation in conflict-affected regions. Through DTM’s multi-sectoral location assessments, IOM aims to continue to support the DNDS to quantify the presence and needs of conflict-affected populations in affected areas and host communities across Mali. The assessments will be repeated at regular intervals to track mobility dynamics and needs over time.
In Mali, while IDPs are traditionally hosted by families and communities in rural areas, the overall deterioration of the security situation has led a growing number of IDPs to seek refuge in urban and peri-urban areas offering limited housing and livelihood opportunities. For those gathered in informal settlements, living conditions are poor and access to basic services, such as health, water and sanitation, as well as education and protection services, is limited if not absent. This already grim situation is of concern in the context of COVID-19 in densely populated areas, where physical distancing and other prevention measures are very difficult to apply.
To support the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) response, IOM plans to strengthen the capacities of government and humanitarian actors in site management best practices, and deploy mobile teams to help coordinate multi-sectoral services, in partnership with displaced communities. In addition, mechanisms for governance and community engagement (including complaints and feedback mechanisms) will be set up, along with systems for identifying and referring potential duplications and gaps in assistance. Those mechanisms will be participatory in nature and inclusive of all displacement affected community sub-groups, with particular attention provided to fostering the participation of women, girls and other under-represented categories of the population while being disproportionately affected by the crisis. In addition to strengthening the accountability of the humanitarian response in temporary displacement sites, IOM will also facilitate community-led safety audits in those locations, hence contributing to mitigating protection and gender-based violence (GBV) risks.
Moreover, IOM will support in-country efforts to organize a coordinated response to the COVID outbreak in displacement sites, ensuring gaps and duplication of assistance are addressed, through the creation of a working group on CCCM reporting to the Shelter and NFI Cluster.
According to the Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO), less than one in two people has access to safe water in the regions of Gao (44 per cent access) and Kidal (38 per cent access), with rates lower than the national average (68.8 per cent) for other northern and central regions (Timbuktu: 66 per cent, Taoudénit: 53 per cent, Menaka: 59 per cent and Mopti: 56.4 per cent). More than 96 per cent of IDPs live in those areas where access to water is lower than the national average. The lack of access to water, environmental degradation and climate change conditions exacerbate the vulnerability of populations to shocks and reduce their resilience and adaptation capacities. Moreover, the frequency and the intensity of droughts and floods creates new humanitarian needs, particularly in the northern and southern regions affected by the conflict.
In order to increase access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in the targeted areas in the country, IOM will support the construction of latrines, borehole drilling and construction, and handwashing stations, inclusive of soap, in urban areas with a high displacement rate. Furthermore, as a way to build the capacities of the Government of Mali and promote durable solutions where appropriate, IOM will work closely with relevant authorities and line Ministries to explore how to implement structural improvements of sanitation infrastructures and services in urban settings most affected by protracted displacement.
In Mali, the health situation remains very precarious. Many health needs of the affected population remain unmet due to the lack of access to health services; 23 per cent of the health facilities in the conflict-affected areas in the country are not functional, with a limited number of partners providing primary health care and increasing health needs since cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the country (source: HNO 2020). With the lack of a basic health structure, and health care providers in Mali, IOM will aim at improving the available health structures for IDPs and host communities through the rehabilitation of facilities, provision of human resources for health, establishing basic medical support units, including community health workers (CHW) and supporting communities health centers with medicines and medical supplies, where possible. IOM will also conduct health promotion and disease prevention activities in the IDP sites and surrounding host communities through Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials. IEC activities will be undertaken by CHW or through peer to peer education in the sites.
As Mali has been previously affected by health threats including outbreaks of meningitis, measles, cholera, rift valley fever, polio and malaria, among others, IOM aims to ensure that conflict-affected vulnerable populations have access to adequate health assistance. In particular, IOM plans to promote health equity by strengthening health care systems and health referrals networks as well as support local health facilities through the continuation and scale-up of the provision of services for affected populations. Individuals requiring medical assistance will either receive direct treatment from IOM medical personnel or be referred to appropriate medical facilities for treatment. Transport and treatment costs will be subsidized on an ad hoc basis when not covered by the national health service. IOM will also conduct health assessments in order to evaluate the most pressing health-related needs of the affected populations.
All health-related assistance will be conducted in coordination with the local health systems and structures in line with the Health Cluster strategic objectives.
IOM has significant experience in Mali and globally in undertaking Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) to promote, protect and support the well-being of crisis-affected populations. IOM seeks to enhance access to mental health and psychosocial support for IDPs and conflict-affected populations through support to mobile teams and community workers.
IOM has been a key partner in providing MHPSS services and is currently working to improve the psychosocial well-being of displaced populations across Mali. In the context of inter- and intracommunal violence and associated displacement, IOM will continue to offer direct MHPSS services and activities to crisis-affected populations through MHPSS resource centers/safe spaces and the deployment of dedicated MHPSS mobile teams, mental health referral teams, community animators, and psychiatric nurses. IOM-MHPSS mobile teams offer services and activities such as lay counselling, recreational activities, support group sessions, informal education classes, health sensitization, referral for specialized mental health care services, small-scale conflict mediation/dispute resolution activities, and small-scale livelihood support.
In Mali, IOM supports IDPs by providing specialized mental health care and case management through a mobile psycho-social (PSS) support unit, composed of a psychologist and a social worker. Due to the broad spread of the populations, the unit is mobile and more severe mental health cases are referred to the bigger health structures for specialized and possibly longer-term mental care. The psychologist is responsible for psychological support, including individual counselling sessions and group discussions, while the social worker focuses on psycho-social activities and awareness-raising. This approach also results in more comprehensive support to beneficiaries, as they receive PSS assistance as well as economic support (livestock and agriculture) for a longer-term impact of this project. The unit is supported by community relay agents, who are recruited and trained on Psychological First Aid (PFA) in order to help with the identification and referral of cases to the mobile unit for a preliminary assessment.
IOM will continue to coordinate the activities of MHPSS response partners by making sure that standards and procedures are followed, responses are coordinated to achieve outcomes and avoid duplication and doing further harm to beneficiaries, and ensuring that common understanding is established among MHPSS response partners, on MHPSS concepts and terms, principles and models of work, community-based approaches and information sharing.
In order to ensure that protection risks to which affected populations are exposed are reduced, IOM integrates protection mainstreaming principles across its crisis programming. The integration of protection principles, as well as a survivor-centred approach, provides the framework that is guiding the different activities conducted, creating a supportive environment in which survivor’s rights and wishes are respected, their safety is ensured, and they are treated with dignity and respect.
Protection assistance will be facilitated by strengthening the capacities of the Government and nongovernmental protection actors’ capacity, including technical support, capacity building activities on protection mainstreaming, and the establishment of a referral mechanism for the assistance of vulnerable populations. IOM will seek to reduce risks faced by affected populations and mitigate resorting to negative coping mechanisms by supplying the most vulnerable individuals or households with needs-based protection specific NFI kits including baby kits, Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) kits and education kits. Such kits will be designed to reduce an identified vulnerability of targeted households or individuals. As with the general NFI kits, the assessment criteria, composition and distribution mode will be determined in consultation with the target group with due consideration for gender dynamics within the community in order to guarantee effective and meaningful access, as well as in coordination with the Protection Cluster to ensure consistency.
Furthermore, IOM will support the establishment or strengthening of protection committees at displacement sites in coordination with the Protection Cluster. These committees will support community-based protection monitoring, identification of protection incidents and support in the referral of cases to appropriate services.
In addition, in coordination with the communities and the protection committees, IOM will organize safety audits in displacement sites to identify evidence-based protection risks so that actions can be taken to mitigate them. Awareness-raising activities will be also conducted in coordination with protection committees at each locality to ensure that the affected population is aware of the main protection risks and learn about the referral mechanisms and available protection services to seek assistance. In addition, IOM is planning to engage in gender-based violence (GBV) prevention activities to bring a positive shift in attitudes, norms and structures, to promote a safer environment and the empowerment of women. IOM will also strengthen the capacity of humanitarian actors on mainstreaming of GBV prevention and mitigation measures and the protection on the rights of IDPs, returnees and their host communities.
Address the drivers and longer term impacts of crises and displacement through investments in recovery and crisis prevention
IOM in Mali will seek to address the root causes and impacts of displacement in order to prevent crisis and allow for recovery, with particular attention to displacement affected populations in the center and northern parts of Mali. In addition, there will be a focus on at-risk youth, economically and socially marginalized persons, as well as on women's economic networks in the center and northern parts of Mali. Activities will be based on a women, peace and security centred approach.
IOM will engage with displaced communities through alternative livelihoods opportunities, in support of the local economy and local development, alongside host communities. IOM will also build on efforts initiated in 2019 in Gao, Mopti and Timbuktu regions to foster dialogue and trust between displaced communities, local populations and local authorities through open and inclusive forums allowing the broader community to identify challenges and gaps and propose concrete solutions. Following the forums, local leaders have spontaneously taken action to implement some of the solutions identified that did not require funding. However, actions likely to have a more sustainable, long-term impact will require a stronger financial investment. IOM Mali will support the implementation of these community-driven solutions while seeking to expand vocational training programmes in Gao, Mopti and Timbuktu regions for youth identified as exposed to a risk of engaging in violent or illegal activities.
Acknowledging the different situations Mali is facing between the northern and the central Regions and between urban and rural settings, IOM is aiming to support communities in areas of return or protracted displacement through flexible and responsive programming in community stabilization and rehabilitation of infrastructures. Approaches include:
- Urban planning and development: Due to growing frustrations expressed by the communities of Gao and Mopti cities, the most minor incident often triggers significant tensions between communities along ethnic lines, well beyond the direct community impact. This emphasizes the importance of supporting renewed mechanisms for constructive dialogue between groups that yields tangible benefits for all. Recognizing that no return is expected imminently among the huge displaced population overwhelming the delivery of public services and weakening the access to shared resources, dialogue can provide an opportunity to identify assistance that would be of common benefit to all, including displaced and host communities, and serve as an opportunity to foster social cohesion as a stepping stone to the attainment of durable solutions:
- Assistance can be tailored in this way by prioritizing transitional shelters, as opposed to emergency shelters;
- Longer-term urban planning and development, as opposed to strictly providing emergency WASH assistance;
- Engaging displaced communities through alternative livelihoods opportunities, in support of the local economy and local development, alongside host communities.
- Supporting the implementation of the recent Peace Agreement Djenne Circle, in the Mopti Region, will enhance the legitimacy of the peace process, and of the actors who have taken a stance for stability when other peace agreements have previously failed. In supporting the success of the peace agreement, IOM aims to demonstrate the demonstratable gains of a peaceful resolution to serve as a model in other feuding areas that may choose to follow the example.
- Supporting the Government of Mali in implementing an integrated approach for stability in the Central regions, namely Mopti and Segou, through the Plan de Securisation Integree des Regions du Centre (PSIRC). Led by the Government of Mali, the PSIRC aims at organizing an integrated approach to instability, putting the return of public services at the center of the response. In particular, IOM will contribute to strengthening cooperation between the local and national authorities and community groups to enable the implementation of collective local solutions to address local instability. This includes the improvement of the management of natural resources, improvement of land tenure, and creation of the conditions for dialogue within and between communities and for a renewed governance.
IOM's supported Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) makes it possible to highlight certain zones of return within the crisis-affected areas. However, this information on its own is not enough to identify "stable" return zones that would, in turn, support engagement in transition and recovery and progress towards durable solutions, with appropriate programming based on the characteristics of these locations. In order to complement transition and recovery activities, IOM Mali will implement the stability index. The Stability Index is a tool deployed by IOM in support of Post-Crisis recovery phases, particularly in areas witnessing large-scale return. Its objective is to determine whether communities returning to their areas of origin following a crisis feel their displacement has ended and to complement and assess transition and recovery efforts in the aim to strengthen the response. The tool, currently applied in areas of return in Cameroon, Chad, and Nigeria, has an accompanying methodology in an effort to continue to assess and address root causes driving displacement. This tool will serve as a measure of stability in return areas in Mali to enable partners to better develop strategies, plan resources and operations in vulnerable specific areas for coherent interventions that link humanitarian, recovery and stabilization. The stability index is based on key informant data collection at the locality level. It correlates data available on returnee populations with indicators related to security, availability of public services, the state of the local economy, the level of destruction and reconstruction efforts. Grouped in three scales, it measures the stability of a return area and creates a locational stability score used to inform and complement programming.
The ongoing violence in the Central Sahel area has demonstrated the capacity of violent extremist organizations (VEO) to exploit community vulnerabilities stemming from both inter-communal violence over access to resources and from grievances against poor government provision of basic services to communities. The violence has led to significant internal and cross-border displacement, which in turn has generated tensions with host communities that can also be exploited by VEOs for violent aims. These dynamics, coupled with porous borders in underserved areas throughout the region, renders border communities particularly vulnerable and amplifies the risk of rapid cross-border spillover of this crisis. Therefore, IOM aims at supporting conflict prevention efforts in fragile areas surrounding crisis-affected regions of Mali, as well as in vulnerable cross-border communities at risk of witnessing expansion of the ongoing tensions. As part of its cross-border prevention efforts, IOM seeks to support local authorities to respond to communities’ request for restoration and/or maintenance of State presence through enhancement of access to basic services and livelihoods opportunities with a regional approach. By enhancing local authorities' capacity to deliver assistance to aggrieved communities, both in areas of origin and of displacement, IOM seeks to ensure that communities are provided with viable participatory fora where they can engage with authorities constructively to identify solutions to the unaddressed grievances which are currently being exploited by VEOs to underscore the State's inefficiency in an attempt to enlist secure passive or active acceptance of aggression. IOM will also support local authorities following these fora to address the jointly prioritized needs, with the aim of mitigating violence, re-establishing or maintaining peace, and restoring resilience of affected and at-risk communities.
Recognizing that no immediate return is foreseen among the huge displaced population, overwhelming the delivery of public services and weakening access to shared resources, dialogue activities will be implemented as an opportunity to identify assistance that would be of common benefit to all, including displaced and host communities, in order to improve social cohesion and strengthen the peaceful resolution of collective concerns. IOM will hence support the implementation of the recent Peace Agreement in Djenne Circle, in the Mopti Region. In supporting the success of the peace agreement, IOM aims to demonstrate the gains of a peaceful resolution to serve as a model in other feuding areas that may choose to follow the example. In order to mitigate the spread of VEOs’ influence in the southern regions of Mali (Ségou, Sikasso, Kayes), IOM will also increase prevention efforts in communities identified as at risk, notably in border areas. This includes improving and streamlining initiatives related to the governance of transhumance and access to natural resources, which are among the sources of inter-community violence exploited by VEOs.
Figures are as of 31 December 2020. For more details of IOM's operational capacity in country, please see the IOM Capacity section.