IOM and Local Authorities Empower Youth on International Day of Peace in Niger

Published Date: 
Thu, 09/26/2019 - 20:00
Country: 
Niger

Niamey – To celebrate International Day of Peace in Niger this past Saturday (21/09), the High Authority for the Consolidation of Peace (HACP) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Niger, organized with support from the European Union, various activities in the cities of Tahoua and Niamey, attended by close to 5,000 people.

HACP promotes actions aimed at strengthening peace and social cohesion among the country’s different communities and contributes to the prevention of crisis and conflict, with relevant actors in Niger.

Observed each year on September 21, the International Day of Peace is an opportunity to celebrate the peace initiatives that promote economic and social development for people around the globe. This year’s theme – "Climate Action for Peace" – highlighted the link between peace and climate change.

Each year, many people are displaced in Niger due to climate-related events such as floods, desertification and groundwater salinization. Niger’s extreme climate pushes many of its residents to migrate looking for better living conditions and work opportunities.

The one-day forum organized in Tahoua brought together more than 150 youth, local authorities, religious leaders, traditional leaders, and NGO representatives, and covered various topics such as social cohesion, climate action for peace, and youth entrepreneurship as a catalyst for change.

“This day has been a decisive one because it showed the commitment of our youth towards their own future,” declared Mr. Ali Mamane Dakouré, HACP Regional Representative in Tahoua. “The debates today encouraged them to take their future into their own hands.”

The forum organized by Al fakir Issa, a young entrepreneur who benefitted from IOM’s project “Initiatives for the Development of the Enterprise” (IDEE), concluded with a film screening followed by a debate and a concert delivered by local artists and attended by more than 600 people.

“The film screening tonight opened my eyes to the realities of migration and to the suffering that our brothers and sisters go through daily,” said Aichatou, 22, one of the participants. “As a young person, I am proud to have participated in this event today and am committing to making the most of the opportunities we have in the region.”

Tahoua is a significant point of departure for Nigeriens migrating to Libya, mostly as seasonal workers. In 2018, close to 2,700 Nigerien migrants participated in the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme, under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, and more than half were originally from Tahoua.

“It is with a sense of pride that we see these young people taking an interest in peace and wanting to make a contribution to the future of our region,” said Mr. Ousseyni Halido, Chief of Staff for the Tahoua City Council. “Since more than 70% of Tahoua is comprised of young people in need of work, we strongly encourage youth to look at entrepreneurship as a viable alternative to irregular migration.”

Several activities were also organized by HACP in Niamey, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), IOM and several youth associations. More than 200 people participated in the various sporting events organized for the day at the stadium in Niamey as HACP representatives took the opportunity to remind the audience of the important link between climate change and peace.

“The decreased economic opportunities linked to climate change in Niger are continuously threatening the livelihoods of the population,” said Barbara Rijks, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Niger. “It’s vital to look at the link between climate change, peace and migration if we want to improve the current economic opportunities and stability in the country,” she added.

 

Through its activities, the IDEE project supports local businesses and helps sensitize Nigerien youth on the creation of local work opportunities and entrepreneurial activities as alternatives to irregular migration, with support from the Italian Agency for Cooperation and Development (AICS), and in cooperation with the Ministry for Youth Entrepreneurship in Niger, incubator CIPMEN, Capital Finance and the NGO Terre Solidali.

For more information, please contact Monica Chiriac at IOM Niger at Tel: +227 8931 8764, Email: mchiriac@iom.int.