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Understanding Relations between Local Communities and Transit Migrants in Gao and Agadez - 8 February 2021

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This study examines the relations between local communities and transit migrants in Agadez, Niger and Gao, Mali. Agadez and Gao are two important migration transit hubs in the Sahel where the scale of development and humanitarian programming has increased significantly in the past five years. Existing research demonstrates that the changing political-economic context, including increased insecurity and strengthened efforts to limit migration flows, have had an impact on relations between transit migrations and local communities. Existing research also demonstrates that communities’ attitudes towards migrants or other displaced populations can play a significant role in shaping the latter’s vulnerability, with implications for effective assistance strategies. To date, however, there has been limited evidence from the Sahel looking at how local communities perceive and interact with transit migrants, and how migration programming influences these perceptions and interactions.

This study seeks to improve the evidence base on local community perceptions and attitudes towards migrants and the factors that shape them. Findings draw on a desk review of 58 sources, semi-structured interviews with 30 humanitarian and development workers and 30 community stakeholders, 480 remote quantitative surveys with migrants and community members, and 60 remote in-depth interviews with migrants and community members in both locations. The study’s findings provide insight into the experiences of study participants but are not statistically representative.