Waste Management Emergency Response improves livelihoods for IDPs

Emergency employment - IDPs in Maiduguri clearing out dranages  (Photo, UNDP Nigeria)
Emergency employment - IDPs in Maiduguri clearing out dranages (Photo, UNDP Nigeria)

Following the eight yearlong conflict in North-East Nigeria, Maiduguri, in Borno State experienced an influx of displaced persons from across the State. Of the close to 1.7 million IDPs in the State who fled the conflict, over 1.1 million are in Maiduguri - the population of the city has almost tripled since the attacks by Boko Haram began in 2009.

Daily waste generation in Maiduguri rose from an estimated 390 to 570 tons per day, a 45% increase from pre-conflict levels. The resulting environmental degradation is estimated at a US$2.9-million loss. Borno State Environmental Protection Agency (BOSEPA) rearranged its available resources to respond to the population movements, but its capacity was insufficient to provide timely collection and clean-up of accumulated waste.

With over 80% of IDPs and host communities practicing open dumping and burning, combined with insufficient financial and human resources to collect it, waste across the city became ideal breeding sites for vectors such as rats, mosquitoes, and flies, vicariously promoting the transmission of vector borne disease like dengue and yellow fever and increased incidences of malaria. .

“When it rained, the water stagnated.  Our drainages were blocked with dirt and our kids were always sick during the rains”- Musa, 26 year old resident of Shehuri South community. The community is now used to the stench from the blocked dranages in the area. However, with the rains soon-approaching, the risk of area being flooded is its biggest concern, the same as Gwange area.  

Waste had been left to build up over many years and had been neglected due to lack of organized house to house collection. There were large amounts of solid waste and sand within the drains, severely blocking them, and preventing sewage from releasing into the main drainage system.

In 2016, UNDP partnered with the Government of Switzerland, through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in implementing an ongoing UNDP initiative, the Waste Management Emergency Response for IDP Host Communities in Maiduguri. The intervention was designed to support the overall objective of the 2017 Nigeria Humanitarian Response Plan by addressing waste accumulation and illegal dumpsites which would in turn reduce vector breeding sites and minimise the health risks in the host communities. The project would also be providing a source of livelihoods for IDPs through a Cash for Work modality. Primary beneficiaries were IDPs living outside the formal camps – mostly in already overstretched poor host communities

Over a thousand highly vulnerable IDPs and host community members were nominated as beneficiaries by community leaders and staff members of municipalities to clear solid waste and drainages from four communities of Gwange West, Shehuri South, Bolori ll and State Low cost (Abbanagaram market).  They were trained, equipped and kitted with appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and toolkits and then paid for the labour under UNDP’s “Cash for Work” (CfW) initiative.

The Cash-for-work pilot project in waste and dumpsite management contributed to other interventions supporting early recovery of the most vulnerable people affected by the crisis in Borno State. These included; provision of opportunity for emergency employment; clearing of accumulated waste and illegal dumpsites; sensitizing communities on better waste disposal methods, training State Officials and laying a foundation for effecient management of waste as in the region.

“Staff (of Borno State Environmental Protection Agency) are now taking time to think about safety before all activities. Before, we would rush in and wouldn’t think enough about the direct safety of our workers. This project has opened our eyes and we have realized through Level 1 -3 that we are all responsible for the safety of ourselves and the public.”- BOSEPA Director, after WSO certified Health Safety & Environment training


  • Engaged 55% of women on a normally male dominated Cash for Work Project
  • Trained 51 Government officials in Health, Safety and Environmental Management Level 1-3
  • Cleared crisis-generated debris and solid waste to prevent the risk of vector borne diseases in host communities
  • Trained and supported Borno State Environmental Protection Agency

Following the intervention, there was a significant increase in the amount of rainwater flowing into the main drain and removing the risk of flooding in the city.

"After UNDP came and cleared the drainages, things became better. Our environment is cleaner and cases of illnesses have reduced"- Aisha Musa, a local resident recounted


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