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 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.
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.