Strengthening resilience in north-eastern Nigeria

Project description

Title: Supporting internally displaced persons and bolstering the resilience of host communities in northern and north-eastern Nigeria
Commissioned by: European Union (EU); German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Nigeria
Lead executing agency: Nigerian Ministry of Budget and National Planning
Overall term: 2016 to 2021


Nigeria has more than 180 million inhabitants, making it the most populous country in Africa. It is also one of the poorest. Poverty, food insecurity and inadequate access to education and health care are particularly severe in the north east. The activities of the terrorist organisation Boko Haram have drastically exacerbated the situation. Since 2009 there have been repeated violent attacks, especially in Borno state. To date more than 20,000 people have lost their lives in these attacks, and some 2.3 million have been displaced from their communities of origin. The majority of the internally displaced persons are now living in Borno and the neighbouring states of Yobe and Adamawa.

As a result of the influx of internally displaced persons, the population in the urban areas of the affected states has increased dramatically over a very short period of time. Boko Haram’s targeted attacks on schools and health care centres have further weakened the already inadequate health care and education systems. There are insufficient resources to meet the needs of the internally displaced persons and the host population. The water and energy supplies and the sanitation systems of the host communities are greatly overstretched. Local markets are unable to supply enough food. The Nigerian Government has made some progress in stabilising the north-eastern region but it cannot meet the challenges alone.


The living conditions of internally displaced persons, host communities and those returning to their communities of origin in the states of Adamawa and Borno have improved.


On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the European Union, GIZ is working to improve living conditions for those living in the states of Borno and Adamawa. GIZ’s activities in the region encompass both emergency aid and development cooperation measures: they involve capacity building for local institutions to enable them to set up and maintain the necessary structures in the long term themselves, as well as improving the self-reliance of those in need. The project sets out to help not only internally displaced persons and host communities but also returnees and communities of origin.

Living conditions are improved through the (re)construction of schools, health care, water, energy and sanitation facilities. In predominantly rural communities of origin the focus is also on reinvigorating agricultural production. Using the tried-and-tested community action planning approach, local communities, state institutions and civil society jointly identify the structures to be re(built) and place them in order of priority. At the same time measures at individual level serve to enhance the capacity for self-reliance of those affected. The holistic approach applied by the project avoids conflicts that are triggered by competition for resources in short supply.

The project forms part of BMZ’s special initiative entitled Tackling the Root Causes of Displacement, Stabilising Host Regions, Supporting Refugees. The activities benefit both those who have been displaced as well as the host communities. Adopting a sustainable approach, the measures are designed to mitigate structural push factors such as social inequality and a lack of prospects in the long term. This project helps to improve the living conditions of displaced persons, host communities and communities of origin while fostering social cohesion with a view to stabilising the region in the long term.