Support to Free Movement of persons and Migration in West Africa (FMM) West Africa Technical Assistance project – Summary of ILO Role and Activities

The FMM Project intervenes in the areas of labour migration, policy development, counter-trafficking, protection of migrants’ rights, child protection, especially children on the move and social security.


The ILO is the U.N. specialized agency responsible for enhancing governance of the world of work. Its mandate includes the protection of migrant workers, drafting and promoting International Labour Standards, promoting employment, extending social protection and social security, and facilitating social dialogue in the world of work. In line with its mandate, within the framework of the FMM Project, the ILO intervenes in the areas of labour migration, policy development, counter-trafficking, protection of migrants’ rights, child protection, especially children on the move and social security.

ILO supports the ECOWAS Commission and Mauritania in implementing its policies (e.g., such as the Labour and Employment Policy and Action Plan adopted in 2009, and the Common Approach on migration) and builds capacities in the area of labour migration and counter-trafficking.

Through the project, the ILO works to:
  •     Promote regional dialogue on labour migration within the framework of the Regional Tripartite Social Dialogue Forum and within the regional dialogue on free movement and migration (Migration Dialogue for West Africa, MDWA). An important focus is on building capacity and mobilizing engagement of the economic actors – social partners- in the implementation of free movement and its accompanying measures.
  •     Improve labour market information systems and the coordination of the public employment services database for ECOWAS Member States and Mauritania. The availability of reliable information on the labour market is a prerequisite for effective free circulation.
  •     Extend access to and coverage by social security for migrant workers, and the portability of social security entitlements. The ECOWAS General Convention on Social Security is a major step towards better coordination of national social security schemes in the region. Its full implementation coordination and cooperation needs to be enhanced in order to extend social security to migrant workers and their families in ECOWAS Member States.
  •     Strengthen institutional capacity to combat trafficking in persons. ILO supports capacity building of ECOWAS staff, ECOWAS member states and Mauritania. ILO also supports the development of legislative frameworks, law enforcement mechanisms. Specific attention is being given to the mainstreaming of international standards into existing regional policy framework and the development of further regional policies and guidelines for combating trafficking in persons in West Africa.

Project staffing and Support

The ILO FMM Project team based in the ILO-Abuja Office consists of:
  • 1 Labour Migration Expert(full-time)
  • 1 National programme officer (full-time)
  • 1 Admin-finance assistant (part-time - 50% at the beginning, full time since 2015).
Furthermore, the team regularly draws on ILO in-house experts for technical support and advice on specific activities (developing and implementing training modules, preparing terms of reference for studies, participating to technical workshops, reviewing reports by consultants, etc.).

These include ILO Country Office for Nigeria, Liberia, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liaison Office for ECOWAS (office space, equipment, technical staff provided to the project before the recruitment, technical and financial support, etc.) ILO labour migration and counter-trafficking specialists, Finance Branch (Geneva Headquarters), labour statistics specialists (Geneva HQ, ILO Regional Office for Africa; ILO Decent Work Team Dakar), employment specialists (Geneva HQ) and the ILO International Training Centre (Turin).

Research reports and assessments are primarily produced through consulting contracts which draw on the ILO’s network of external experts.