IOM Niger Chief of Mission, Barbara Rijks, with the First Lady of Niger, Mrs. Hadiza Bazoum, during the ceremony. Photo: IOM/Daniel Kouawo

Niamey - On 8 March, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UN Women commemorated International Women's Day at IOM's transit centre for vulnerable women migrants in Niamey.

The First Lady of Niger, Mrs. Hadiza Bazoum, the Minister of Women's Promotion and Child Protection, Mrs. Allahoury Aminata Zourkaleini, other representatives of the Government, the European Union, the Netherlands’ Embassy, IOM and UN Women staff, and the women and child migrants hosted in IOM's transit centres attended the ceremony.

During the event, IOM staff performed a play on the link between gender, climate change, and migration. A group of Nigerien women artists performed songs and slam poetry on gender and migration. Women migrants prepared an exhibition of hand-made articles they crafted themselves. Finally, children from the centre for vulnerable migrant families and children in Niamey demonstrated their singing and athletic skills to pay tribute to their mothers and other women in their lives.

In the afternoon, a football match was organized between IOM's female staff and women migrants

“Gender shapes the decision to migrate and the migration experience, and women and girls may experience higher risks of gender-specific threats and challenges, including gender-based violence (GBV). This is even more acute during the climate crisis.”, said Caterina Torchiaro, Programme Coordinator, UN Women. “Climate change disproportionately affects women and girls, their ways of life, livelihoods, health, safety and security. It is a “threat multiplier”, meaning it escalates social, political and economic tensions in fragile and conflict-affected settings. But women are also solution multipliers: they play a central role in addressing, mitigating, and solving the climate crisis. It is high time to take bold actions and measures for making lasting and transformative progress towards a more gender-equal word”, she added.

"This day is an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the resilience of women, including women migrants. The women hosted in our transit centre are testimony to the incredible strength of women, even after the difficult journeys they had before arriving in Niamey," said Barbara Rijks, IOM Niger Chief of Mission. "Equally, it’s important to highlight the plight of women who have been displaced due to rising insecurity in Niger and neighbouring countries and the women of the host communities who are the first humanitarians to receive and support these displaced people. We should also celebrate frontline women workers that provide essential services to vulnerable migrants and communities, including our staff here at the transit centre in Niamey", she added.

In 2021, over 760 women migrants were assisted in one of IOM’s seven transit centres in Niger. The assistance provided in the transit centres is comprised of shelter, food and water, medical services, and psychosocial assistance. IOM aims to support these vulnerable migrants with voluntary return to their country of origin as quickly as possible.

This activity was organised with funding from the European Union through the Special Measure for the EU-IOM Joint Initiative on Migrant Protection and Reintegration under the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument – Global Europe (NDICI – Global Europe), and the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

For more information, please contact : 

Aïssatou Sy at IOM Niger, 

Fatimata Seyni at UN Women Niger,