The pilot project supporting multi-purpose centres in Niger was launched in November 2015 through a contract with the International Organisation for Migration under the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (EUR 1.5 million for 12 months). It takes into account lessons learnt, such as the Mali based Centre for Migration Management and Information (CIGEM) including in particular ensuring ownership of the Nigerien authorities, communication towards the migrants and complementarity.
The services provided include direct assistance, medical and psychological support, referral of asylum-seekers to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, information about risks and alternatives to irregular migration, transport towards the countries of origin, assisted voluntary return and reintegration in cooperation with local communities in Senegal, Gambia, Mali and Nigeria. So far EU funding enabled, inter alia, transportation for 2 000 migrants, assisting 400 voluntary returns, developing 18 socioeconomic reintegration projects as well as data collection on migratory flows.
The second phase of action will be financed under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUR 7 million for 36 months,). Emphasis will be put on offering alternatives to irregular migration and development of the region (migrant departure, transit and return zones). It will also help direct migrants towards other existing development projects in the region where they could find decent employment.
This project in Niger is part of and complementary to a wider series of related interventions funded by various EU instruments, including the Trust Fund. This is a pilot project and, based on its results, informed decisions may be taken to support similar mechanisms in other transit countries.