Migrant journeys, particularly via the Central Mediterranean Route, are extremely perilous, with migrants facing risks of violence, exploitation, abuse, and risking their lives. The UK Aid funded Safety, Support and Solutions II in the Central Mediterranean Route (SSS 2) aimed to reduce harm and suffering along the Central Mediterranean Route. It provided critical humanitarian and protection support to migrants at key junctures along the route. Assistance is offered to migrants in transit and on return, with a focus on victims of trafficking, unaccompanied children and migrants in very vulnerable situations. Communities that host migrants and returnees were also supported to ensure a holistic response. Building understanding of migration trends, dynamics, and migrants’ needs was also a core part of the programme which aimed to equip humanitarian responders and national authorities with the information needed to support more effective decisions, programmes and policies.

This three-year programme (2018-2021) provided critical humanitarian and protection support to migrants in 10 countries across the regions of West and Central Africa and the Middle East and North Africa: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Côte D’Ivoire, The Gambia, Guinea, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Senegal.

Key Areas
  1. Protecting Migrants from harm 
    Migrants in very vulnerable situations have been provided with critical humanitarian assistance, including shelter, nutrition, medical care and psychosocial support. The programme also contributed to strengthen crucial protection networks at national and international levels. Through information campaigns we improved migants’ understanding of the dangers of crossing the Sahara and the Mediterranean Sea.
  2. Returning Home and Reintegration 
    Migrants who wished to return home, to their families and communities, have been supported to do so safely and with dignity, enabling them to rebuild their lives. The support included providing shelter and support on arrival in the community of origin. We provided returnees with business training and support to set up new livelihoods and worked to strengthen social networks that can facilitate reintegration in the communities of origin.
  3. Data Analysis
    The wide range of data, research and studies developed under this programme to better understand complex movement dynamics in the region, including migration drivers, decision making, needs, vulnerabilities and resilience, are now available to researchers, practitioners and policy makers to support and inform future work. 
  4. Understanding migration decision making 
    Why do people migrate, how do they make the decision to move, and what factors affect their choices? Together with University of Birmingham, IOM produced a research study, MigChoice, that investigated these questions. The study looked at development interventions in The Gambia, Guinea and Senegal to better understand the research question “How and to what extent do development interventions affect people’s migration aspirations, decision and movement, and on what timetable?” 
Key Achievements
  • Over 8,000 people have been rescued and provided with life-saving support in the Sahara Desert through search and rescue operations in Niger.  
  • 18,000 migrants have been reached with support , such as shelter, healthcare or reintegration initiatives. 
  • 10 shelters have been renovated or refurbished in Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Senegal, The Gambia and Guinea 
  •  More than 4,500 migrants have accessed safe shelter in Guinea, The Gambia, Senegal, Niger and Mali. 
  • Over 3,500 returnees have been provided with reintegration support, helping them to reintegrate into their home communities. Reintegration support includes training in how to set up a business as well as support to bring business ideas to life. Other assistance includes vocational training and continued education.
  • More than 230,000 people have been reached with essential information on the dangers of irregular migration routes and on how to access humanitarian services and support during their journey.
  • 2,000 practitioners, government officials, CSOs and NGOs staff have received capacity building training in how to better respond to migrants needs.
  • More than 150 studies, data briefings, infographics or data updates have been produced on migrant dynamics on the Central Mediterranean Route. 
Free to Access Key Learnings & Resources

Each section includes free-to-access evidence-based key learnings & resources that practicioners, policy makers and researches can use to inform their work and that can also constitute the base for future research. Use the main menu to navigate to different sections and find resources. 


The SSS 2  is a three-year programme (2018-2021) funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) thorough UK Aid and managed by IOM UK.

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Want to find out more about our work? Contact: londoncmrsupport@iom.int