Halimatou has worked for four years as a protection assistant at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) 's transit centre for women and children in Niamey.
On the occasion of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) campaign, we find out how her work contributes to fighting this scourge and protecting migrant women.
“When migrants arrive in the transit centre, I interview them to identify their vulnerabilities. This identification requires a keen sense of observation. I have to be very attentive to the person's behaviour because they will not necessarily want to share their stories and recall the traumatic experience. Together with the other colleagues, we have learned to identify alarming signs, such as isolation and aggressiveness.
"In general, victims of GBV isolate themselves. They do not want to interact with their peers, and they are sometimes reluctant to participate in recreational activities at the centre. Others suffer from sleep disorders, and some even have suicidal tendencies.
"A team effort is required to provide the best support to survivors of GBV. First, we offer them psychosocial assistance; which we do in the form of "art therapy" workshops and other recreational activities that allow them to share their feelings. A psychologist is also available for consultations and individual follow-up. Finally, we support survivors who want to file a complaint. We refer them to the competent jurisdictions for assistance.
"My message on the occasion of these 16 days of campaigning is that we all have to continue raising awareness of communities, young people, and migrants about zero tolerance regarding GBV and explain that care services are available and accessible to survivors."