SIHMA | Scalabrini Institute For Human Mobility In Africa

Lessons from Niger's Opportunity Villages: A Model for Migration and Integration

In the heart of Niger, Garin Kaka and two other "opportunity villages" are redefining the narrative of migration and integration. These villages, born from a partnership between the UN Refugee Agency, the Niger government, and local leaders, provide an alternative to traditional refugee camps, demonstrating that the journey from displacement to integration is not only possible but also immensely enriching.

In Garin Kaka, Nigerian refugees and local residents are not merely coexisting but thriving, transcending borders and forging deep connections. As Jamilla Oumaru, a 25-year-old Nigerian refugee, says, "The advantage of working as a group is that we quickly get to know each other" (Delfosse, 2023).  It's a powerful testament to the ability of shared work and common purpose to foster integration, illustrating that the distinction between refugees and locals begins to fade when communities collaborate for mutual benefit.

These opportunity villages showcase the potential for refugees to bring opportunities to their host communities, proving that integration is a two-way street. As local leaders have embraced the influx of refugees, their villages have seen tangible improvements in infrastructure, healthcare, education, and more. There is now a health center, new classrooms, and a water supply. It's a reminder that, despite the challenges, the coexistence of diverse backgrounds can lead to positive change.

In a world grappling with complex migration issues, Niger's opportunity villages offer an inspiring model for the future. The lesson here is clear: integration is not just a concept but a living reality. The cooperation and shared purpose that thrive in these villages prove that, when people work together, they can create opportunities, build relationships, and, most importantly, strengthen the bonds of humanity. Garin Kaka and its counterparts remind us that in the face of adversity, unity and integration can pave the way for a brighter, more inclusive future for all.

Source: Delfosse, C. (2023) Refugees and locals live side-by-side in Niger’s 'opportunity villages'. Available online:

Photo by Nathalie Lays on Unsplash


Post Categories

Posts by Tags