With the aim of providing alternative livelihood opportunities for the growing number of unemployed youths, women and other vulnerable groups in North-East Nigeria, UNDP has engaged over 700 conflict-affected people from across Borno state in emergency employment.
This initiative is part of ongoing intensive community clean-up and waste removal activities and delivery of sanitation-related services in the area. Implemented under the European Union-funded ''Sustainable Waste Management and Environmental Protection'' project, the intervention is part of UNDP's early recovery efforts, aimed at resuscitating household’s sources of livelihoods and reducing their reliance on humanitarian aid for survival.
The beneficiaries of this intervention include Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and their hosts in communities who are paid using the cash-for-work approach. Income realized from emergency employment helps families meet household needs, including feeding, accessing healthcare services and buying medication and paying for children's school fees. Previous beneficiaries from similar opportunities have used income earned to start small businesses and support even more community members.
The decade-long conflict in North-East Nigeria has not caused an estimated $8 billion worth of infrastructure damage, mass displacement of families and disruption of economic activities in the region. It has also led to negative environmental consequences like pollution, accumulation of debris and unattended solid waste.
This continues to expose already vulnerable populations to environmental and health risks, especially in Maiduguri, Bama and Biu which have witnessed unprecedented influx of IDPs in the recent past. With public service delivery capacity still at its lowest, local authorities responsible for waste collection and enforcement of environment and public health-related regulations have been unable to respond adequately to the needs of affected communities especially with regard to removal of waste and post-conflict debris.
“Perennial flooding became a thing of the past after the drainages were cleared. We are grateful to UNDP and EU for selecting our communities and we look forward to the next 36 months of this project,” stated Lawan Zannah Bolorima, a beneficiary from the pilot initiative conducted in 2017.
Over US$8 million is being invested in activities aimed at ridding the region of debris from the conflict and waste reconstruction sites in Maiduguri, Bama and Biu Local Government Areas.
The Waste and Debris Assessment conducted in 2016 estimates that close to 900 tons of waste is produced daily in key population centres in the North-East and need removal. A direction correlation between insufficient sanitary standards and the rate of sickness and spread of infections in the region has also been established.
The conflict has not only hampered delivery of basic services, it has also crippled most families’ ability to farm and or sell products to sustain themselves. With no shelter and sources of livelihood coupled with the already high unemployment rates across the region, the crisis in the region remains complex.
The project is being implemented in partnership with local institutions through the Borno State Environmental Protection Agency (BOSEPA) and the Ministry of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation & Resettlement (MRRR).