Boko Haram: 1.9m People In North East In Need Of Urgent Recovery Support – UNDP

An estimated 1.9 million people in North Eastern part of Nigeria, scattered across 250,000 households are in urgent need of early recovery support of food, shelter and other social infrastructure.
The Country Director, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Samuel Bwala stated this, while speaking at the graduation ceremony of first batch trainees of 79 internally displaced persons at the Peugeot Automobile Nigeria (PAN) Learning Centre in Kaduna on Tuesday.
“The insurgence just worsened the situation resulting in mass suffering among the people especially women and the youth. From our assessment, about 1.9 million people in the region, representing over 250,000 households are in urgent need of early recovery support, including shelter, food, livelihood, social infrastructure, public security, among others. It is important to note that currently, over 80 percent of households affected by the insurgence spend more than they earn, and 30 percent of households are economically inactive.
“As UNDP, we are working towards ensuring that necessary early recovery needs are met through vocational skills training, livelihood support, rehabilitation of public infrastructure – these efforts are providing catalytic ingredients for communities to thrive again, for individuals to be able to fend for themselves again, and for development to return to the region,” he said.
He said that the programme under the theme “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All”, with focus on the plight of IDPs, refugees and migrants throughout the world, demonstrates that hope and opportunity still exist when peace is given a chance – knowing very well the circumstances that led to mass displacement of communities from which some of these graduates came – Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States.
“Today, they may just be 79 that are graduating, but they represent a lot of hope for others and communities they come from,” he added.
Bwala admitted that it is true that prolonged development deficit in the region exposed millions of people to different kinds of vulnerabilities.
“Even before Boko Haram began its insurgency in the region more than eight years ago, communities were already vulnerable and struggling to survive. Nearly seven out of ten people were living below the extreme poverty line, on less than $1 a day, and livelihood opportunities were severely limited,” he pointed out.
The Country Director said that with support from the Government of Norway, they have focused their interventions on the root-causes of the crisis, the early recovery needs that will laying the foundation for long-term development to take place in the region.
“We are working in partnership with other UN agencies to meet the short and medium term needs of the displaced population. We have so far been able to support farmers and mostly female-headed households with agricultural inputs including agro-processing equipment. We are convinced that this support, catalytic in nature, will help communities to bounce back and thrive again,” he added.
He further pointed out that out of the seven hundred IDPs who were shortlisted for the first phase, only 575 registered and successfully passed out.
“Currently, 571 of the 575 were placed into three technical facilities in Kaduna, Maiduguri and Yola, 79 of whom are graduating today while 179 others will graduate in Yola Technical Centre by this time of next week. The last two batches from the Ramat Polytechnic, Maiduguri and this Centre will graduate in November 2017 and February 2018 respectively.
“It is our hope that after passing through this training process, the graduates, depending on the programme they were engaged in, are peace advocates, responsible citizens, better business managers and potential leaders in their communities.
“We can do more and support more of the victims of the insurgency – with more partnerships, more resources mobilised and more equipped centres of learning, it is possible. We remain ready to support both the Federal and State Governments in establishing standard technical and vocational training facilities which will be useful in providing skills to women and youth of this country. I therefore encourage governments in the region to invest in programmes that promote youth entrepreneurship, vocational and skills acquisition. It is the only way we will address some of the underlying causes of instability – here and other parts of the country,” he expressed.
The UNDP Country Director said that he was delighted that the programme has produced the first set of female trained in Auto Mechanics and another trained in Auto Spraying and Painting in Yobe and Borno respectively.
“Join me in congratulating the two ladies for their gallantry and determination. Let us support them as they continue their journey to full recovery – it is not easy for them, in this male-dominated industry.
“I wish to mention that all graduates under this programme will be supported with start-up equipment grants to enable them establish their own businesses. I am encouraging the graduates to consider partnering with each other to form business clusters and conduct their businesses together. Remember our famous African proverb “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” I encourage all graduating trainees today to use the skills and knowledge acquired to improve their wellbeing, that of their families, communities and the country.
“From our end, we will explore possibilities of linking up this intervention with our Integrated Community Stabilization Package being piloted in the region, as well as, the on-going reconstruction and rehabilitation programme,” he assured.
He further assured that in partnership with State Government’s they review the programme and explore possibilities for enriching the post-training support package for the graduates.
“This could include introduction of an integrated business model that guarantees a secured business environment, provision of modern facilities and structures, access to credit, discipline and patronage for the graduates.
“I as conclude, allow me to thank the management and staff of PAN Learning Centre for the dedication, commitment and understanding. Undertakings like this come with a lot of challenges,” he concluded.

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