Niger: Collaboration with local government secures civil documents for displaced people

When people flee, they often leave without the necessary documentation to access government services or rebuild their lives. This recipe responds to displaced people’s need for civil status documents and shares how Développement pour un Mieux Être (DEMI-E), a civil society organisation in Niger, was able to partner with the local government to support displaced people to access their rights.

  • Tailor support to access services
  • Support advocacy to access rights

Niger suffers from the increasing impacts of climate change. Over the past 10 years, the southern strip of the Diffa region has been hit by severe flooding on multiple occasions. Communities that depend on irrigated agriculture have seen their fields ravaged and homes destroyed. What’s more, droughts, violent winds and erosion mean dune fields are no longer productive, leaving the population extremely vulnerable. Additionally, the conflict with Boko Haram has destabilised the southeastern part of the country. All of these factors have led to widespread displacement: much of the southwest strip has been emptied of its population, with hundreds of villages abandoned and people living in camps or spontaneous settlements.

On the outskirts of the urban commune of Diffa, displaced people from seven different villages within, and outside of, Niger have fled to the village of Awaridi. DEMI-E utilised the VFL methodology to identify the main challenges displaced people face. This included access to basic social services, exclusion from laws and strategies, and lack of DRR knowledge. As revealed through the urban living labs process, the community agreed that access to basic services including healthcare, housing, and food were its main priorities.

In order to ensure that displaced people have access to government services, DEMI-E partnered with relevant government authorities to issue civil status documents to 3,000 displaced people. The documentation initiative prioritised women and children. 

Project participants advocated for the views of displaced people to be included in a national humanitarian policy and disaster management document. They also took part in campaigns to raise awareness of Law No. 2018-74 on the protection of, and assistance to, internally displaced persons. Engaging more than 10,000 people, the campaign led Diffa regional authorities to take into account the movement of people in the regional response plan to crises and disasters.

“This activity was prioritised because it includes sub-activities that are highly relevant and the whole package addresses the root causes of the target group’s vulnerability. We started from the premise that someone who does not even have documents that make him a citizen of his country, who does not even know the texts that govern his status, cannot claim anything rightfully. If they are regularly registered as Nigerien citizens and they are aware of the laws and regulations in force, then they will be able to claim in all legality and legitimacy all that is rightfully theirs and even ask to change the provisions that do not take into account their real needs.”

Mani Tahirou, DEMI-E, Niger

Développement pour un Mieux Être (DEMI-E) is a Nigerien national non-governmental organisation that provides support in the areas of water, sanitation, hygiene, food security, resource management and social protection. Its mission is to contribute to building the resilience capacities of rural and urban communities through the implementation of self-managed development initiatives.

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This case study was produced as part of our Making Displacement Safer Cookbook – a resource on addressing DRR challenges faced by displaced communities in urban areas.

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Project funded by

United States Agency for International Development

Our Making Displacement Safer project is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) – Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance. Content related to this project on our website was made possible by the support of the USAID. All content is the sole responsibility of GNDR and does not necessarily reflect the views of the USAID.

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