The violent conflict in Northeast Nigeria has caused one of the most severe crises in the world, with over 7.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance today. Since 2009, more than 20,000 people have been killed, thousands of women and girls abducted, and thousands of children drafted into non-state armed groups (NSAGs). While stability has returned to some areas, allowing 1.6 million people to return home, 1.7 million people still remain internally displaced.
The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) with its specialist unit, the Danish Demining Group (DDG), and financial support from the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) are working together to help some of the most vulnerable communities affected by this conflict in Borno and Adamawa States. Through the “Promoting Stability in Nigeria’s Northeast” project, DRC/DDG is strengthening community resilience and safety, empowering at-risk youth, and fostering positive behavioural change in relation to mines, explosive remnants of war (ERWs) and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The project started in Feb 2016 and will end in March 2019. With an overall budget of 5.5m Euros, this project is being implemented in two states in Notheast Nigeria – Borno and Adamawa. The local government areas (LGAs) that have project activities include Yola, Mubi South, Mubi North, Michika, Hong, Girei, Madagali (Adamawa state) and Maiduguri (Borno state). Since the onset, the project has reached over 148,000 people in the two states. These diverse activities range from conducting inter-faith dialogue forums to providing small business grants to delivering mine risk education (MRE) to community members and humanitarian organisations.
One of the most impactful activities of the project is Community-Police (Security Providers) Dialogue and Cooperation (CPDC) workshop which builds trust and safe communication between community members and key government security agencies. These workshops teach community members how to safely and confidently report security concerns and teach government officers how to more peacefully engage with and resolve community disputes. DRC has conducted 44 CPDC workshops, all of which have produced plans outlining steps for continued cooperation.
Earlier this year in Adamawa state, community members and security officials agreed on the need to train community-based security groups. These groups serve as first responders to explosive incidents in the absence of or before the arrival of government security officers. DRC/DDG then worked with the five partnering government security agencies to develop a contextualized training manual on Early Warning and Early Response (EWER) procedures. The EWER training was then provided to both the government security officers and the community-based security groups from twelve communities.
“Promoting Stability in Nigeria’s Northeast” is providing material support to men, women and young people across Northeast Nigeria. By strengthening affected communities, empowering at-risk youth and fostering positive behavioural change, residents of Borno and Adamawa can see their lives change for the better.
As a member of the Kankilia Community in Michika LGA, Adamawa state, told a DRC staff person earlier this year: “When DRC/DDG first came into our community and started the AVR activities, some members of the community were not convinced that anything good would come out of the whole project. However, they started partnering and supporting us with the implementation of some YES! Plans …. the training on Small and Medium-scale Enterprise plus the Business Grants. The AVR trainings helped us to better understand our security issues; the CPDC workshops gave us the opportunity to interact with different government security officers. Right now, in Kankilia, so many lives have been positively changed. By just mentioning “DRC/DDG”, a large crowd of people would be willing to participate in activities. Thank you to the DRC/DDG and the AVR team.”