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Emergency Trust Fund for Africa
News article22 January 20211 min read

Strengthening the resilience and empowerment capacity of refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons linked to the conflict in northern Mali

ETM PoCs Agricultural Skill Training Farm-up Project

The instability in northern and central Mali is causing forced displacement and irregular migratory flows. Malian refugees living in Burkina Faso, Niger and Mauritania are putting pressure on local communities, and even creating instability in certain areas.

The UNHCR put into place a regional-scale action in order to tackle this situation.

Process and living conditions in Niger

Once the refugees and asylum seekers arrive in Niger, UNHCR conducts a verification interview and registers them biometrically. This is followed by refugee status determination (RSD) procedures by the Government of Niger and UNHCR. Finally, interviews to prepare resettlement files are completed by UNHCR. These files are then submitted to third countries for consideration. For unaccompanied children, a Best Interests Determination (BID) is completed to seek the most appropriate solution.

UNHCR and partners provide accommodation in the ETM transit facility in the commune of Hamdallaye, Tillaberi region (40km from Niamey) where food, medical care, education and psychosocial support are readily available. On 4 March 2019, a first group of 120 evacuees were transferred to the Hamdallaye center, constructed for a maximum capacity of 1,500 persons. For particular vulnerable cases, such as persons with medical follow-up requirements, advanced stage of pregnancy or mother with newborn babies, three guesthouses remain operational in the city of Niamey. Durable construction and development of the transit facility is ongoing.

Empowerment & Philosophy of Care

Educational/vocational training has started in 2019 with partner INTERSOS targeting 45 unaccompanied minors (30 in mechanics, 15 in esthetics (link is external)). Partner Good Neighbors launched a farm-up project involving 35 refugees and 40 persons from the host community who produce and sell moringa, tomatoes and cabbage next to the ETM site. Since February 2020, the ETM team is piloting the use of cash for food for 28 households who have specific dietary needs in guesthouses and in Hamdallaye through mobile money. This pilot project is being evaluated and may be expanded to the whole population.

In order to respond to refugees and asylum seekers psychological and physical needs, UNHCR is developing a Philosophy of Care through psycho-social, mental health, sport and recreational activities (traditional dance classes, music and singing sessions, theatre workshops, etc). UNHCR intends to mitigate distress and help them to cope better and resume their normal lives in dignity. Sports facilities, which include a soccer field, a basketball court and a handball field were generously donated by the AC Milan Foundation.


Publication date
22 January 2021
Region and Country
  • Mali
  • Mauritanie
  • Burkina Faso
  • Niger
  • Improved migration management
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Programmes in the region