A few months ago, JIPS received a request for support from UNHCR and the Niger Protection Cluster. The request specifically focused on the need to assess the protracted displacement situation in Diffa region and inform durable solutions for displaced and displacement-affected communities.
The situation in the region is critical, with over 100,000 IDPs, a large number of Nigerian refugees as well as a significant population of returnees who had previously fled to Nigeria but were later displaced again by the Boko Haram crisis. Host communities are also extremely vulnerable, and the protracted nature of the displacement situation further contributes to depleting their resources.
We had a chat with Valerie Svobodova, former Niger Protection Cluster coordinator and currently working with UNHCR in Geneva, in order to better understand the situation, the data issues in the region and why a profiling is so needed. She highlighted some of the main challenges that might impact a profiling exercise in this context – such as security concerns and limited local capacity -, but also pointed out the widespread willingness of relevant stakeholders (including the Government of Niger) to work together to seek durable solutions, as well as the opportunities to engage communities in the process.
Despite the fact that some positive actions are already underway (such as an IDP law currently being drafted and efforts to implement and boost the Guiding Principles – GP20 Plan of Action in Niger), the general lack of reliable data and useful analysis has affected the stakeholders’ ability to fully understand the extent of the crisis and work towards the achievement of durable solutions. In order to kick-off this much-needed profiling exercise, JIPS is working with the Protection Cluster to plan its first mission to the country.