Protecting and listening to the populations we assist 

Published on Tuesday 11 July 2023

The quality of our programs is our priority. This means protecting the most vulnerable populations and being accountable to them for our action. 

Mainstreaming protection for the most vulnerable people is central to our action. This is one of our NGO’s commitments in our 2022-2025 strategic plan.   

The majority of our programs are implemented in areas affected by armed conflict. People are often displaced several times as a result of these conflicts, exacerbating their protection needs and heightening access and security challenges.   

Integrating protection into our programs is particularly important in such contexts, especially for people who are highly exposed to food insecurity or waterborne diseases. Our activities target individuals whose age, gender or disabilities make them particularly vulnerable.

Centering our action on affected populations 

Our NGO takes a sector-driven approach to its programs. This approach encompasses the following fields of expertise: “Water, Sanitation and Hygiene” (WASH), “Food Security and Livelihoods” and “Shelter”.  

Since 2022, our aim is to progress towards more specific analysis of each person’s needs and vulnerabilities so that we can fully utilize our sectoral expertise to assist people who are at greatest risk and most in need of assistance. This means that we need to increase our analytical capabilities and develop new operational approaches. Our teams center our programs around affected communities and make sure that the assistance we provide does not have a negative impact on them.  

In practical terms, this approach allows protection mainstreaming principles to be integrated into all our activities.   

Implementing practical tools to mainstream protection 

In our day-to-day work, this means constantly seeking quality throughout our projects, to ensure:  

  • The safety and dignity of affected populations,  
  • That all affected people have access to assistance, while paying close attention to the most vulnerable among them,  
  • The participation and empowerment of affected populations,  
  • Coordination and complementarity with other actors present in the field.  

In 2021, our NGO adopted a protection policy. En 2022, we took this commitment one step further with a strategic plan and a protection mainstreaming implementation framework. This framework will be used by our missions in 2023 to implement our commitments using practical tools.  

In addition to gradually mainstreaming protection, our NGO also regularly makes commitments to local and international partners to integrate protection into our sectors of activity. We call this protection integration.  

Improving living conditions for communities in Abala  

In Niger, the humanitarian and security situation in the “three-borders” area (Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali) has constantly deteriorated since 2017. Conflicts in neighboring countries have spread into the region, compounding the area’s structural poverty1 and climate vulnerability.  

In response to this situation, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL and Mercy Corps have been working to improve access to “Water, Sanitation and Hygiene” services and protection mechanisms in Abala department since 2020.  

Through this project, our NGO provides decent, secure access to WASH services by building, rehabilitating and developing water and sanitation infrastructure as well as reinforcing the governance and management mechanisms for these facilities. In parallel, Mercy Corps implements complementary activities to improve the protective environment for people who are at risk or have specific needs. Teams comprising SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL and Mercy Corps staff also carry out community mobilization, awareness and engagement campaigns on WASH issues and protection. Protection committees have also been set up to strengthen existing community mechanisms to prevent and manage conflict around water points. This inter-NGO project also includes protection risk analysis, which allows WASH facilities to be adapted to needs and ensures that these facilities do not expose users to additional risks.