UN Migration Agency Launches Community Stabilization Activities in Northern Niger

Community Stabilization

Agadez – IOM, the UN Migration Agency last week (09/05) launched the project Community Stabilization Initiatives in Northern Niger (COSINN) in Agadez, funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.

More than 27,000 individuals entered Niger in February alone. This important migratory flow across the country increases the pressure on Niger’s already limited resources, leading to the possibility of frustrations and increased tensions for local communities.

The COSINN project aims to contribute to the stabilization and immediate recovery of these communities by revitalizing the local economy, improving access to basic socio-economic infrastructures, and strengthening the social cohesion among communities.

“The Agadez region has always been an important piece in the puzzle of migratory dynamics in West Africa,” said Seve Diomande, Programme Manager for IOM’s Community Stabilization (CS) unit in Niger. “The community stabilization activities in the region step in to support communities, authorities, and the dialogue between them.”

The activities in northern Niger are comprised of cash-for-work programmes for communities economically affected by the 36/2015 law against the smuggling of migrants. In February 2018, 500 beneficiaries participated in such activities in the Kawar region, and 200 in Arlit.

“The population of Agadez has been touched by the effects of the 36/2015 law,” said Aboubacar Ajoual, the vice-mayor of Agadez. “The COSINN project can counteract these effects through its community stabilization activities that fall in line with the communities’ ambitions and expectations.”

CS activities also consist of rehabilitating infrastructure to improve water storage and distribution systems across communities, especially in schools and health facilities in the Kawar region. In Arlit, the activities will also focus on creating a space for dialogue between communities and their leaders, as well as trainings for youth and vulnerable groups.

IOM teams regularly identify activities with potential to strengthen the cooperation between and within communities in migration-prone areas, and to provide space for public debate and citizen engagement.

In order to strengthen media structures in the region, the launch was accompanied by a training for local media actors that brought together 15 young journalists from different communes in Arlit, Agadez and Kawar.

CS initiatives are developed together with a management and monitoring committee comprised of authorities and representatives of community associations. These associations are responsible for identifying activities that are relevant to their community, selecting beneficiaries, and monitoring the progress of the activities.

The CS activities started earlier this year in five communes: Arlit, Dirkou, Djado, Bilma and Fachi. In close cooperation with local populations, the four monitoring committees in the northwest, also known as the Kawar region, have started working on identifying, constructing and rehabilitating infrastructures.

In Agadez, the activities related to reintegration, prevention of radicalization, cash for work and job creation are combined with agricultural trainings and land restoration activities, funded by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

IOM’s CS programmes aim to support governments and civil societies in reducing factors that lead to irregular and forced migration, integrating the needs of marginalized groups and host communities, and responding to the impact of migratory flows on communities.

For more information, please contact Seve Diomande at IOM Niger, Tel: +227 80 06 66 17, Email: sdiomande@iom.int

  • Local community in Agadez celebrates launch of the Community Stabilization Initiatives in Northern Niger on 9 May. Photo: IOM/Marcos Moreno Báez