Abdoulfataou Ganda, 18, stands next to a well on his farm. “Most of our friends migrate to seek a better life,” Abdoulfataou explains. He has taken over his father’s farm, which earns him enough to be self-reliant and support his family. Like many youth in his community, he is at risk of migrating in search of opportunity, which means their communities are losing talent and skill to other places. But Abdoulfataou participated in Mercy Corps’ financial literacy training, where he learned about budgeting, saving and how to seek microfinance support for business, which helped solidify is believe that a good life is possible at home. “To me, it’s always better to be at your home, that’s where you can naturally be fine,” he says. “Home is home. And I believe that you can make a business and a good living even here, as long as you have something to do.”
Driven by poverty, a lack of opportunity, and cultural expectation, many people in Niger migrate to different areas or countries for months or years at a time to earn income and experience life outside their home community. Migration routes have become increasingly dangerous and costly, putting migrants who don’t know their rights at risk of violence or exploitation. However, migration also has the benefit of enabling people to gain skills they would otherwise not, which they can utilize in their home communities if they return and have access to opportunities.
Mercy Corps’ AMIPA program works with returning migrants and those at risk of migrating to provide education about the risks, so people can make informed decisions, while also providing financial inclusion and business support for those who have returned or choose to stay, so that they may access livelihoods in their home communities.