In Niger, IOM seeks to provide lifesaving assistance to crisis-affected populations in the southern regions of Niger, as well as to vulnerable Nigerien migrants within Niger or stranded abroad, as well as to foreign migrants, the majority from Economic Community of West African States - ECOWAS - countries, stranded in Niger (mainly in the Agadez region) who have expressed their willingness to return to their countries of origin.
This is complemented by the promotion of social cohesion and peaceful coexistence between host communities, IDPs and migrants and reduction of factors of instability that could lead to irregular and forced migration through community stabilization and peacebuilding interventions in regions affected by displacement and migration. IOM Niger further envisions to scale up its level of assistance in crisis-prone areas to foster enhanced resilience to shocks.
IOM will target vulnerable individuals affected by displacement (IDPs, refugees, returnees, and host communities) resulting from man-made or natural disasters will be targeted for direct assistance, such as through the provision of emergency shelters and NFI kits, more specifically in the Tillabéri, Diffa, Maradi, and Tahoua regions. These individuals, already living in situations of poverty, are considered vulnerable even without compounding factors such as displacement or increased pressures on limited natural resources and basic social infrastructure.
In addition, IOM will support migrants in the region of Agadez, arriving from Algeria or those who find themselves stranded and abandoned by their smugglers, with humanitarian and voluntary assistance to return to their countries of origin.
In order to meet the basic needs, including food, of the affected population, IOM Niger will:
- Provide direct assistance, including food, to migrants during their stay in one of IOM's six transit centres throughout the country. Migrants in transit centres arrive primarily from Algeria, or are rescued by IOM in its search and rescue operations in the Northern Agadez region along the route to Libya, or by their own means, and stay in IOM centres for an average of two weeks, depending on their vulnerabilities and country of origin.
IOM will continue to provide need-based assistance to populations affected by conflict and natural disasters in the regions of Diffa, Tahoua, Tillabéri, and Maradi. Assistance will be provided to about 15,000 households. Approximatively 75 per cent will receive in-kind assistance and 25 per cent cash assistance. IOM will:
- Provide emergency shelters for people in need;
- Provide transitional shelters for displaced populations who have been in the same location for at least 12 months and show acute needs;
- Distribute NFI kits that will include both basic items and specific items for some groups with specific needs (such as dignity kits, kits for pregnant women). Additionally, as for COVID 19 response, an adapted COVID kit will be provided to vulnerable affected populations, especially in hard-to-reach localities;
- Provide cash assistance to households who had their houses destroyed or damaged by floods and are affected by displacement in areas least affected by insecurity, for instance to support the reconstruction of their houses and recovery of livelihoods activities damaged by the floods;
- Implement an “out-of-camp” strategy to support communities affected by displacement with a holistic approach that simultaneously addresses the immediate vital humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable displaced households while supporting accompanying durable solutions and improving the resilience of displaced, returned and host communities in light of the protracted nature of the displacement (such as through the coordination of assistance and services, support to community governance and two-way communication with IDPs, support to capacity building of national actors in response to displacement).
Health and protection concerns are integrated across these activities, including measures to mitigate risks of GBV in line with the IOM's Institutional Framework for Addressing Gender-Based Violence in Crises, such as (but not limited to) ensuring the safety and privacy of shelter solutions for single females and female-headed households, establishing community spaces for women and girls, ensuring safe access to water points to women and girls, conducting safety assessments with women and girls.
IOM will provide community-based and individual mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) services for migrants in distress stranded in Niger, as well as for crisis-affected populations, to enhance their well-being and strengthen their resilience before they return to their places of origin. IOM will:
- Carry out individual and group counselling and other MHPSS activities in transit centres, in sites for displaced people or through mobile clinics expanded to IDPs and populations affected by ongoing crisis, including therapeutic tools; socio-relational and social cohesion-fostering activities such as sport and play; creative and cultural activities, such as music, dance, and art-based activities;
- Provide referrals to other service providers including national services and NGO partners as needed;
- Provide awareness raising and capacity-building, notably on psychological first aid (PFA), conflict mitigation and mediation activities.
All activities will be in line with IOM’s Manual on Community-based Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergencies and Displacement and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Guidelines on MHPSS in Emergency Settings.
IOM will seek to ensure that crisis-affected populations in areas of displacement as well as areas of return the regions of Diffa, Tahoua, Tillabéri and Maradi have access to effective WASH services and can adopt sanitary and hygiene measures that are paramount in the fight against cholera and COVID-19 (inter alia). By doing so, IOM will support upholding the human right to safe water and sanitation, whilst ensuring dignity and wellbeing of populations and ensuring public health targets are achieved, including preventing cholera, COVID-19 and other WASH-related diseases. IOM will:
- Support the construction of household latrines in support of emergency-shelters (e-shelters) and gender-segregated communal latrines in schools, hospitals and other public spaces, in line with SPHERE Standards;
- Carry out hygiene promotion to encourage improved hygiene practices and long-term behavioural change to improve public health outcomes;
- Improve WASH services at the health and border management level by refurbishing border crossing points and providing latrines and sanitation facilities for agents and travellers at the borders.
- Implement WASH activities in other regions such as Agadez, especially along the migratory routes and in the mining areas.
IOM will work with local organizations and partners assessed to have strong community links and capacity, to:
- Provide critical support to existing health services and local health structures (such as contributing to procurement of medicines and supplies, and facilitate capacity-building where needed) in displacement sites in the regions of Tillabéri, Tahoua, Maradi, and Diffa, including by providing logistical support to local health authorities with access to these displacement sites and communities;
- Conduct targeted health promotion and risk communication activities at the community level, including by facilitating the participation of health staff from local health structures;
- Intensify health support to migrants in transit centres, including but not limited to basic health consultations, alongside enhancing infection prevention and control measures in the transit centres through improving transit centre capacity to facilitate isolation measures, while also reinforcing the capacity of local health structures to assist migrants affected by COVID, and support the national response;
- Support COVID-19 and other vaccine preventable diseases efforts by supporting the GoN through logistic efforts for the transportation of vaccines – especially and in hard-to-reach areas and zones affected by insecurity and for populations on the move, as well as through the adaptation of sensitization messages in different languages for mobile populations to facilitate demand generation for life-saving vaccinations.
Stranded international migrants in Niger or in transit in Niger have the possibility to avail of IOM’s humanitarian movement assistance to voluntarily return to their country of origin. IOM will:
- Evaluate and provide the most feasible transportation modalities (through land or air channels) for a safe, voluntary and dignified return, including preliminary steps such as provision of pre-departure health assessments for migrants and ensuring that they are fit-to-travel (FTT) considering COVID-19 (and other key health) measures, and following-up on cases with health conditions/persons that present as in need of any form of health support; provision of medical escorts (for specific cases as required).
Seventy per cent of migrants who are returning to their country of origin do not have valid travel documents, a number that has been increasing as those returning from Algeria often do not have travel documents. For these cases, IOM will:
- Liaise with the diplomatic representations of countries of origin and with the DST in Niger to ensure safe return;
- Provide support to diplomatic representations in Niamey, including to conduct consular missions to Agadez.
With regards to the protection of the most vulnerable migrants, IOM Niger plans to provide the following assistance:
- Facilitate the identification of protection risks and vulnerabilities experienced by migrants and populations affected by the crisis to provide protection and individualized case management for the most vulnerable stranded migrants in Niger, including unaccompanied migrant children, victims of trafficking, and survivors of gender-based violence (GBV). IOM plans to reinforce its collaboration with the GBV working group to contribute to responding to needs of survivors through psychosocial support and assistance.
- Reinforce the capacity of government (MPFPE, ANLTP, juvenile courts) and local authorities in favour of crisis-affected populations to better prevent and respond to protection issues through trainings, elaboration of tools and equipment donation;
- Prevent and mitigate risks of GBV, exploitation of children, and human trafficking, through capacity building of peer educators, engaging men and boys as actors of change, reinforcing the protection angle in all sensibilization and community cohesion activities in crisis-affected areas, including GBV and the risks of irregular migration leading to human trafficking;
- Support community committees to execute their role of protection for displaced population and host communities by organizing awareness raising and community-based activities;
- Rehabilitate structures to ensure the integration of safe spaces for women and child-friendly spaces;
- Promote the dignity of displaced population and host through the distribution of tailored NFI kits, including dignity kits / MHM items for women and girls;
- Integrate GBV in needs assessment tools.
Activities will be conducted and evaluated in consultation and collaboration with communities and will ensure meaningful participation of vulnerable groups especially women and girls, children, persons with disabilities, or any other group that might be particularly vulnerable.
Address the drivers and longer term impacts of crises and displacement through investments in recovery and crisis prevention
IOM will work to address the root causes of conflict and instability and therefore seek to improve social cohesion in the regions of Agadez, Diffa, Tillabéri, and Tahoua targeting local communities, including authorities, women, youth, as well as IDPs and refugees - as relevant to the social cohesion and stability needs. IOM will also seek to strengthen the relations between authorities and communities, targeting local authorities with capacity re-enforcement to enhance service delivery and increase the confidence of populations. IOM further seeks to support host communities and migrants in the Agadez region to enhance their socio-economic resilience and reduce the impact of conflict and/or natural disaster related shocks as well as to prevent recruitment into NSAG in the regions of Diffa, Tillabéri, and Tahoua.
In 2022, IOM will also target the most vulnerable migrants, refugees, IDPs, returnees and host communities with a strategic component to facilitate enhanced access to health services and other basic social services.
IOM will capitalize on ongoing interventions in the regions of Agadez, Diffa, Tillabéri, and Tahoua to further reduce possible factors of instability that could increase social tensions and vulnerability, thereby contributing to irregular and forced migration, while maintaining an inclusive and entirely locally driven approach. IOM will:
- Support the creation of governance related cluster local (communal) committees to foster exchanges and share good practices at departmental levels;
- Support decentralized technical services to ensure the rehabilitation, expansion, and management of public social infrastructure for the resumption of basic social service delivery, thus restoring communities’ confidence in the capacity of their authorities to respond to local needs. This applies especially in remote areas where lack of trust compounds complex displacement patterns that could generate conflict between migrant and host populations;
- Implement tailored economic recovery initiatives to address the needs of vulnerable groups, ensuring the meaningful participation of women; organize income-generating activities at the community level; and strengthen the technical skills of young entrepreneurs, supporting local businesses and raise awareness among young Nigeriens (including women) about self-employment and the creation of entrepreneurial activities as an alternative to irregular migration;
- Implement activities that contribute to community stabilization and reinforce community resilience towards drivers of violent extremism through the enhancement of social cohesion and local governance in conflict-affected localities, support peace committees and community groups, strengthen cultural, recreational, and employment opportunities for the community and youth in particular, and improve access to public service infrastructure;
- Collaborate with local governmental representatives in communities where transhumant movements are taking place to mitigate tensions between herders and farmers;
- Strengthen communication between law enforcement agencies and border communities to jointly address security concerns in local communities, thereby contributing to community stabilization.
Building on its ongoing efforts in the region, IOM will:
- Continue to implement targeted interventions to enhance conflict prevention, resolution and management mechanisms and skills in the communes where migrants and host communities have previously fallen into conflict over access to already scarce resources (Agadez, Arlit, Ingall, Assamaka, Aderbissinat), including tensions between farmer and herder communities over natural resources (Tahoua, Tillabéri, Diffa);
- Provide technical assistance to the regional authorities to reinforce governance mechanisms related to unregulated activities drawing huge migratory flows in the local communities of the Agadez region (especially in Iferouane and Djado);
- Support the institutional capacity of the Government of Niger to address the impact of violent extremism at the community level.
IOM aims to build on its strong partnership with the GoN at the national (Ministry of Public Health) and regional (Regional Directorate for Public Health, DRSP) level through its continuing and sustained involvement regarding the provision of emergency health assistance at the cluster level. IOM will continue to support improving access to, and improve the quality of healthcare for all populations in the target areas, whilst working to facilitate more migrant-sensitive healthcare provision:
- Reinforce the preparedness of the Government of Niger to respond to the public health emergencies, e.g., with material and equipment support, coordination meetings, creation and distribution of information, education and communication materials (for instance visual guidance and radio awareness campaigns, all culturally and mobility-sensitive);
- Reinforce communication and referral systems among the health authorities, health structures and the communities, and work to facilitate that migrants and mobile populations can access these services;
- Conduct discussions and periodic assessments/evaluations in consultation with partners as appropriate (e.g., état des lieux) to identify the gaps in primary healthcare provision in IOM's targeted areas of intervention, and reinforce collaboration with existing partners/actors;
- Reinforce regional or intra/inter countries coordination and collaboration mechanisms to improve the cross-border public health disease surveillance.
In Niger, due to the official government policy on formal displacement sites, vulnerable populations displaced by conflicts or natural disasters are forced to live in spontaneous sites referred to as “community groups”. In fragile contexts such as the Diffa, Tillabéri and Tahoua regions where displacement trends have been increasing over the years, IOM offers an “out-of-camp” approach that simultaneously addresses the immediate vital needs of the most vulnerable communities affected by displacement, while taking into account the needs to strengthen the resilience of both displaced populations and host communities in coping with the effects of prolonged forced displacement, ensuring synergy between humanitarian assistance and development-oriented actions for the broader community. This approach aims to contribute to the progressive achievement of durable solutions for vulnerable populations affected by forced displacement, including host communities, in line with IOM's Progressive Resolution of Displacement Situations Framework. In practice, it consists of:
- Supporting the functioning of deconcentrated and decentralized state services through training on preparation and response to mobility;
- Supporting community resilience through income-generating activities;
- Establishing an accountability mechanism;
- Collecting, analysing, processing, and disseminating information on displaced populations and their expressed needs and follow-up to the implementation of sustainable solutions.
In parallel, IOM is working towards the integration of the migration – environment and climate change link into public policies and is looking at creating alternatives to forced mobility in territories affected by environmental degradation. IOM will:
- Promote specific agriculture techniques (including half-moons and zai, inter alia) and effective natural resource management;
- Support green job initiatives;
- Evaluate the potential and possibilities of diaspora engagement.
Building on the achievements attained during the COVID-19 response, IOM aims to continue and expand its support to laboratories including Centre de Recherche Médicale et Sanitaire (CERMES) and the national laboratory in Niger through capacity-building and/or the procurement of supplies. This will improve the quality of healthcare available to migrants, refugees, IDPs, returnees and host communities. This support will consist of:
- Procuring personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing equipment to ensure that medical care can be provided through COVID-19 as well as general diagnostic services;
- Supporting the screening of migrants and refugees for tuberculosis, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other diseases either through the provision of direct support to expand laboratory services or to facilitate collection of samples from symptomatic persons with specimen referral to the designated laboratory.
IOM will target Nigerien authorities for capacity-building activities to strengthen their disaster risk preparedness, especially in the Diffa, Tahoua, Tillabéri, Maradi and Niamey regions. Because of their key function in providing these services, IOM Niger’s interventions will specifically target the Ministry of Humanitarian Action, Ministry of Public Health, the Regional Security Councils, and the Directorate for Territorial Surveillance (DST).
Additionally, IOM will target communities with prevention and mitigation measures related to communicable diseases such as COVID-19 or cholera outbreaks, as well as with disaster risk reduction activities (evacuation sites) for communities exposed to natural disasters (floods, droughts, wildfires).
IOM Niger will build upon its efforts to support multisectoral programming at points of entry (PoE), including the promotion of integrated border management through support to the rehabilitation and construction of border posts, as well as through equipment with a modern border management information system, by supporting and bolstering the implementation of the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005), such as through:
- Ensuring that targeted PoEs, including land borders and airports) meet IHR 2005 standards and the guidelines of integrated disease surveillance and response to ensure apt preparedness and response measures are in place concerning public health events of international concern, health emergencies and future pandemics. Through this, IOM will support the GoN in disease surveillance activities, especially on COVID-19 prevention, isolation and control (PIC) measures. IOM Niger will also continue to provide in-kind assistance to the authorities for the establishment and/or improvement of sites for quarantine of migrants upon arrival as well as sanitary police structures in line with physical distancing, spacing, equipment, and staffing requirements essential to respect isolation and hygiene measures
- Continuing to support the provision of PPE and WASH services for infection prevention and control (IPC) (such as hand washing stations, soap, disinfection supplies) for migrants, mobile populations and the relevant authorities. This requires continued coordination at the health district, regional and national level to facilitate continued coordination and management of the PoEs.
- Supporting officials at the PoEs with capacity building efforts, including on IPC, among other key topics.
- Collecting data on key health related issues at PoEs and immediate surroundings, and training police/immigration officials at the borders on public health surveillance in locations where police sanitaire is absent, to reinforce the preparedness and response capacity of POEs to epidemics.
- Train local authorities in the provision of a coordinated and rapid response to potential massive and sudden population displacements occurring at the borders, possibly stemming from mixed origins, including security threats with people fleeing from an armed conflict or sudden-onset disaster in a neighbouring country through for example the organization of simulation exercises such as “SIMEX”, in order to elaborate regional intervention plans (PIR) in all regions, with Dosso targeted for 2022. The PIR will be used by regional security councils in line with the National Contingency Plan for Border Crisis Management adopted on 7 Feb 2020 by decree. SIMEX also includes a health component for pandemic simulation.
- Conduct capacity building exercises to reinforce the preparedness of the GoN to respond to floods and other recurring disasters resulting from natural hazards in the country. This will include training of the Ministry of Humanitarian Action and Disaster Management together with Civil Protection on disaster risk reduction principles including improving early warning systems and piloting interventions to support risk reduction in Niamey;
- Support local authorities with capacity building and contingency planning in areas affected by natural and man-made crisis, such as through implementing floods/droughts/wildfires response plans to be activated in several communes;
- Provide NFI and emergency shelter kits as contingency stocks in preparation to significant population movement due to armed conflict and large sudden disaster in line with the Ministry of Humanitarian Action and Disaster Management contingency plan.
- Strengthen the MHPSS technical working group by conducting a mapping of existing MHPSS resources and needs to identify gaps and support the integration of MHPSS in the emergency response in Niger; and by co-chairing the MHPSS working group, if in line with the priorities of the WG.
- Train relevant actors, such as staff of NGOs, Ministry of Health, community volunteers, in MHPSS, including PFA, basic MHPSS, referral systems and community-based MHPSS-approaches.
- Implement community risk reduction activities in response to disasters or man-made crisis, including through information, education and communication campaigns on building back better and disaster risk reduction;
- Design durable infrastructure to increase the resilience of communities to disasters, such as modular and scalable WASH infrastructure, multiple water supply options, flood protection and increased safety margins in design and operations through in-kind provision, accompanied by capacity building of the targeted communities.
- Facilitate discussions and assessments with partners at the early stage of alerts generated to identify the needs and gaps, and subsequently mobilize resources in the context of communicable disease outbreaks;
- Provide logistical assistance to local health authorities to reach the affected population or potentially affected population to provide sensitization efforts (as necessary), and health care services;
- Support the development of strategies and/or standard operating procedures with the local, regional and national administrative and health authorities relating to preparedness;
- Support communities with early alert and preparedness by promoting two-way dialogues among the community, the authorities and the relevant partners through community engagement and sensitization activities with communities about potential health threats, and feeding into community-events based surveillance;
- Conduct emergency drills related to public health emergencies through the SIMEX tool.
IOM will target the GoN and national and international partners with up-to-date information about migration flows and patterns in Niger, for instance through the flow monitoring points (FMPs).
In particular, data collection (through flow monitoring, emergency tracking, village assessment surveys, the stability index) will benefit humanitarian responders, sectors and clusters, transition and recovery and development actors, and national authorities providing them with information on the location and number of displaced persons in assessed areas, contributing to a better and fuller understanding of displacement in the country and informing policies benefiting displaced populations, including IDPs, migrants, and returnees.
In addition, information and data on transhumance patterns in the tri-border area with Mali and Burkina Faso will be shared with local authorities, who will be able to take steps to mitigate and prevent agropastoralist conflicts; with national authorities, whose better understanding of transhumance routes and flows is expected to lead to policies to better manage transhumance; with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other actors for improved knowledge on available infrastructure and vaccination of cattle, as well as health and infrastructure needs; as well as agropastoralist communities as a priority, for information on natural disasters and conflict risks to allow them to select new routes or avoid conflict and disaster-affected zones; and farming communities to enable them to take measures to protect their farmland.
IOM will implement the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), a system that tracks population movements, including those of internally displaced persons, to provide understanding of the numbers, trends, profiles and needs of mobile populations using multiple DTM tools, including village assessment surveys, flow monitoring, emergency tracking, stability index, transhumance tracking and surveys. In particular, IOM will:
- Conduct data collection at seven flow monitoring points (FMPs) and ten information points (IPs) along the southern and northern regions to track migration trends and movements through Niger from/to neighbouring countries, including to/from Algeria and Libya. Two additional FMPs and IPs will be established in Dosso and Tillaberi, where key migration routes and displacement have been reported;
- Undertake four rounds of DTM village assessments to track mobility of IDPs, determine numbers and locations, places of origin, reasons for displacement, and gather information on vulnerabilities and needs in four regions of Niger affected by forced displacement;
- Conduct data collection through the emergency tracking tool (ETT) to track and monitor displacement of individuals and conditions of communities affected by urgent events in the regions of Diffa, Maradi and Tillabéri;
- Roll out the stability index to identify pockets of stability and assess the stability of conditions in displacement-hosting locations and facilitate the programming of durable solutions in areas of high return. This tool will serve as a measure of stability in return areas in Niger to enable partners to better develop strategies, plan resources and operations in specific vulnerable areas for coherent interventions that link humanitarian, recovery and stabilization. The stability index, implemented in Tahoua/Tillabéri and Diffa, is part of two sub-regional data collection projects in the Liptako Gourma countries and Lake Chad Basin countries to provide a complete, regional understanding of stability in displacement-affected locations in the two regions in areas prioritized for the humanitarian- development-peace nexus approach to programming in coordination with parnters;
- Carry out villages/sites assessments to evaluate their capacity to support the current population and potential additional displacement to inform the crisis response and allow for multisectoral planning and response to the affected communities with the aim of building upon the humanitarian-peace-development nexus approach;
- Collect data on transhumance flows, movements of cattle which may potentially raise tensions and strain relations, natural hazards and agropastoral conflicts through IOM’s transhumance tracking tool (TTT) in order to mitigate the impacts of natural hazards and prevent and reduce tensions linked to resources management and conflict surrounding transhumance campaigns in the Tillabéri region, which borders Burkina Faso and Mali. This action will be conducted in complementarity with TTT conducted in Burkina Faso to avoid duplication of activities and data;
- Build the capacity of targeted local administrative entities in different regions on displacement data collection and analysis through workshops as well as in-kind assistance through computers and other office supplies;
- Conduct mobility restriction mapping/PoE assessments to evaluate the operational status of PoEs, identify border management and public health measures put in place to fight the spread of COVID-19, track the impact of COVID-19 on population mobility at PoEs and assess the impact on migrants, flows and IDPs;
- Collect data on key health related issues at PoEs, through the Migrant Resource and Response Mechanisms health module, in order to enhance PoE preparedness and response to COVID-19 and other epidemic outbreaks.
Figures are as of 31 December 2020. For more details of IOM's operational capacity in country, please see the IOM Capacity section.