Life-saving assistance in north east Nigera

ZOA supports internally displaced people and host communities through life-saving assistance in north east Nigera. From March 2018 until November 2018, ZOA provides life-saving food support to 20,000 vulnerable, internally displaced persons in Gongulong and its satellite villages in north east Nigeria through so-called cash-based transfers. Those transfers are distributed monthly to internally displaced and vulnerable people during the worst months (hunger gap period).

Most people in the project area have recently arrived in dire conditions from neighbouring regions, due to intense violence caused by the terrorist group Boko Haram. Maiduguri and its direct surroundings (e.g. Gongulong) are one of the few areas which are considered safe enough to stay, so they settled on the fringes of the State’s capital with estimated 1,500,000 inhabitants. However, life is tough without any opportunity to go farming due to the security threats. Many farmers are still harassed and even killed while working in the fields.

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People are in dire need of food
Due to this threat, people can’t produce sufficient food. ZOA directly targets the most vulnerable people in highest need of assistance. Households who have been measured as malnourished or in emergency food status are targeted. After selection, every month a small cash grant (approximately 10 euro per person) is safely disbursed to mostly women, since they are most often directly responsible for food purchase and cooking practices.

The cash distribution process goes as follows:

  • Each project household receives a personal card owned by mostly women.
  • Each month the personal cash grant is personally collected by the card holder through a local money agent.
  • ZOA checks the received cash, where after the beneficiary is able to buy food for their household.

No money is wasted on items people don’t necessarily need or want. Also, less money is spent on overhead and transport costs.

At this moment, ZOA identified provision of cash grants to the most vulnerable people as the most effective support to positively contribute to establishment of dignity within the population. Compared to in-kind food distribution, no money is wasted on items people don’t necessarily need or want. Also, less money is spent on overhead and transport costs.

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Positive impact on the local economy
The project positively impacts the local economy in positive ways: local markets receive more customers and are able to recover from the shock caused by the insurgents. Further, local business agents are owning an income by providing the service. To prevent fraud and improve effectiveness of the project cash is distributed through Red Rose, an innovative digital platform for cash-based transfers.

ZOA stays
None of the project beneficiaries knows when he or she leaves Gongulong with his/her family to rebuild their lives. At the moment ZOA provides for the most urgent needs through their programme and build their resilience. However, the future is still uncertain. Once the most urgent needs are settled, ZOA together with project beneficiaries will look for the next steps to take. Life is tough for them, but ZOA stands with them through this project.

The project is funded by the European Union (through ECHO) and World Renew.

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