Migrant journeys, particularly via the Central Mediterranean Route, are extremely perilous, with migrants facing risks of violence, exploitation, abuse, and risking their lives. The FCDO funded Safety, Support and Solutions II in the Central Mediterranean Route (SSS II - CMR) 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. 
The Mediterranean is the deadliest route for migrants worldwide. 
In 2020, over 1,400 migrants lost their life in the attempt to cross the Mediterannean, of whom almost 1,000 deaths have been recorded just on Central Mediterranean route.

The programme focused on 4 key areas.

Protecting Migrants from harm: migrants in very vulnerable situations have been provided with shelter, food and medical care. We also raised awareness of the dangers of crossing the Sahara and the Mediterranean Sea.  

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. We supported them with travel logistics, shelter, business training that helps set up new livelihoods, and by strengthening social networks to facilitate reintegration in the communities of origin. 

Data Analysis: Data collection and studies on migration help practitioners to understand complex movement dynamics, migration drivers, decision making, needs, vulnerabilities and resilience. This information also helps governments to improve their migration management, with the purpose of making migration overall safer.  

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. 


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.   








Each of the following sections 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 or click on the links below to find out more.

Protecting Migrants

The SSS II programme  supports migrants in very vulnerable situations and host communities by providing services, such as shelter, food, non-food items  and health care. IOM also trained those who work directly with vulnerable migrants, such as healthcare workers and government officials, enhancing their overall understanding of how to support migrant populations. With the onset of COVID-19, IOM adapted its programming to ensure migrants were safe and advocated with governments to ensure migrants were included in the COV-19 national responses. Find out more about our critical humanitarian and protection assistance along the Central Mediterranean Route here.

Returning Home and Reintegration

Provided that return to home countries represents a safe and voluntary option, IOM assists a growing number of migrants who wish to return to their community of origin. Reintegration has become a key aspect of return migration. Through the SSS 2, IOM reinforced reintegration support to the most vulnerable returnees, and also sought to nurture the global thinking around reintegration and to articulate a new approach to sustainable reintegration. Find out more about return and reintegration here.


Migration Choices  

TEXT TO BE REVIEWED and CREATE SEPARATE NEW PAGE FOR THIS SECTION - As part of the SSS 2 programme, IOM has also been engaging with the Guinean and Senegalese diaspora communities in the UK, to better understand and share learnings about the triggers behind the migration decision making process from these countries and share learnings. The interdisciplinary research project MigChoice was also supported by IOM in the context of this programme  and carried out by the University of Birmingham. Since its inception, the SSS III has been supporting IOM's Missing Migrants project which documents migrant fatalities across dangerous migration routes.

Information Campaigns

Information campaigns designed to raise awareness of the potential risks of irregular migration have attracted much attention and investment across the world in recent years. Information campaigns have increased in number and the type, format, messages and strategy of such campaigns have diversified. Find out more about IOM research to better understand the impact of these campaigns targeting potential migrants. Find out more about IOM research to better understand the impact of these campaigns targeting potential migrants here. 




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. Contact: londoncmrsupport@iom.int



"Migration is one of the key realities of our time. It cuts across communities, influences priorities, and shapes societies.
To realise the benefits of migration for migrants and host communities alike, our responses must be innovative, collaborative and designed beyond the immediate."


Dipti Pardeshi, Chief of Mission of the IOM UK Office