CHALLENGE STATEMENT: Improving Food Security

The well-being of people, their quality of life and access to services depends on their ability to support themselves through nutrition and ultimately on livelihoods. The livelihood assets (raw material, human, economic, physical etc.) across a range of sectors are very limited.

The Cardre Harmonise report on food security in 16 northern Nigeria states revealed that about 7 million people are at the risk of facing severe food insecurity if adequate measures are not taken to intervene and address the security and climatic challenges in the states. A region whose economic activities have been predominantly driven by the agricultural sector, the lingering effects of conflict and persistent clashes between herdsmen and farmers has crippled agricultural activities with scores of farmers killed and many more displaced.

The research findings were disclosed at the National Consolidation Workshop on the Cadre Harmonise of the Food and Nutrition Insecurity Analysis in 16 states in the Northern Nigeria. These findings are supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations which estimates that about 8 million people will go hungry in Northern Nigeria by the year 2020. Speaking at the Cadre Harmonise workshop, an FAO representative Mr Patrick David emphasized the need to strengthen the access to food and strengthen the fight against malnutrition in the Northern states for IDPs and affected people in the North in his recommendations.

“Food assistance is very critical for lots of people in the Northeast states. In addition to that, we’ve seen that the level of malnutrition in these three states (Borno, Yobe and Adamawa) are very critical.

“It’s one of the other recommendations to strengthen the fight against malnutrition in these states and everywhere we can find children in difficult situations.”

Read More here and Here

The Challenge

Access to food, through increasing farm yields and creating self-reliance in food production and processing

  • How can affordable irrigation be made accessible to farmers during the dry season?
  • What innovative measures can be implemented to reduce post-harvest losses?
  • Are there ways in which flooding of farmland can be mitigated to avoid damage to crops?
  • What innovative solutions can be used in food production and processing to add value and increase yield?
  • How can child nutrition be addressed in vulnerable populations?

Lack of basic assets and inputs into food production 

What sustainable measures or innovations can be used to make agricultural inputs accessible and affordable? (livestock, grains, fishing, seedlings, fertilizers, manure, pesticides, farm equipment etc.)

CHALLENGE STATEMENT: Diversifying Livelihoods

Northern Nigeria in general has in the last decade suffered through various religious, communal, political and economic clashes as the region continues to shift and evolve with the times going as far back as the 2000 Kaduna Riots leading to the death of an estimated 1000 – 5000 lives; an event whose ripple effects crippled the once thriving commercial city. A timeline of religious violence leading up to the recent crisis which begun in 2009 shows an escalation of conflict in the region with the attacks and activities being unprecedented in recent Nigerian history.
The magnitude of the attacks has left thousands dead, displaced millions, destroyed settlements and crippled economic activities.
To intervene in the region, all actors and stakeholders must work together to provide comprehensive and strategic humanitarian interventions that provide relief and socioeconomic stabilization of the North-East and find innovative solutions to return, resettle and empower the estimated 14.8 million men, women and children affected by the crisis.

The Challenge

The challenge is to rebuild communities and restore normalcy to places that presently lie in total ruin. This will be achieved by finding innovative solutions that address the following immediate issues:


Diversification of livelihoods

  • What innovative solutions can be used to address the financial needs of small and medium scale businesses?
  • How can the region tap into its resources to link up markets and create cluster business hubs across industries in the region?
  • How can skills acquisition and training be used as a tool to drive recovery and empower the affected persons in the region to broaden livelihoods?
  • What immediate infrastructure is needed to create an enabling environment for business to thrive and succeed?
  • How can off grid solution for energy be enabled to support livelihood activities at a household level?

CHALLENGE STATEMENT: Camp and shelter management

The Internally Displaced Monitoring Centre (IDMC ) estimates that there are almost 2,152,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) in Nigeria as of 31 December 2015. Based on an assessment conducted from November to December 2015 by the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) team in  207 Local Government Areas (LGA) covering 13 States of Northern Nigeria: Abuja (13,481 IDPs); Adamawa (136,010); Bauchi (70,078); Benue (85,393); Borno (1,434,149); Gombe (25,332); Kaduna (36,976); Kano (9,331); Nasarawa (37,553); Plateau (77,317); Taraba (50,227); Yobe (131,203); and Zamfara (44,929) (IOM/NEMA).

However, this number of IDPs has been reviewed downward since the military campaign launched to repeal, destroy and recover captured regions. It is estimated that 8.1 million people need humanitarian assistance in the most severely affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, with over 1.9 million people internally displaced, 80% of which are in Borno state. The successes recorded by the armed forces have led to the moves by the government to assist affected people return and resettle in their communities.

The IDMC also reports that the majority of the IDPs (92%) who were displaced as a result of the crisis live within the host communities while the rest live in camps or camp-like sites with few basic amenities supervised by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). Major needs expressed by the IDPs are for food (58%), followed by the need for shelter (13%) and non-food items (NFI) 7%

Read more Here

The Challenge

The IDP population in camps often exceeds the number of people the camp facilities can cater for, leading to damage, lack of services, over-crowding, unusable facilities for services and disease outbreaks.


  • What innovative and sustainable solutions can be utilized to address the challenges of shelter design, maintenance, and management?
  • What innovative and creative options/approaches are available to address needs for community space and education facilities for IDP and host communities?

How can new off grid technologies, such as solar lighting, cooling, sanitation, recycling etc. enhance the life of those living in IDP camps?

CHALLENGE STATEMENT: Lack of safe learning spaces, or lack of educational resources

A report by the Education Policy and Data Center of the fhi360 reveals the continuous challenges of school participation across Nigeria with emphasis on the Northeast whose educational sector has suffered even more setbacks. In addition to the issues of access to school, limited family and school resources, attitudes towards western style education, northern Nigeria’s education sector has been further impeded by the devastation of the crisis and the attack on western education with a target on the girl child education. A culminating event which triggered international and local outrage was the April kidnapping of an estimated 276 school girls in Borno state from their boarding school, an action that bears testimony to the risk that young girls and women face in their pursuit of education.

Read more here

The displacement of millions of people fleeing the conflict in the Northeast has had tremendous impact on the struggle for education with survival taking precedence over other needs. Another challenge faced by IDPs is the lack of accessibility to schools or resources to enroll children and youth in formal education while living in camps and host communities with over-stretched facilities. Thus, in comparison to the other regions in the country, the north continues to lag behind in education with literacy rate in Lagos state at 92 per cent and less than 15 per cent in Borno, a gap further widened by the years of conflict in the region.

The Challenge

The challenge thus centers on the need to address the educational needs of young women, youth and children across northern Nigeria with emphasis paid on adequate investment in providing secure and enabling learning environment to encourage enrolment in school from primary to higher education thus breaking the cycle of challenges to education.

  • What innovative and creative learning solutions can be utilized to make education resources available in a sustainable manner across schools in the region?
  • What kinds of curriculum including skills development could enhance the learning experience for secondary and higher education – in what innovative ways can it be delivered?
  • Are there ways in which costs for school books, further education can be made available in a sustainable manner ( e.g. by income generation assets)
  • What Tech solutions, including the internet can be used as educational tools to support learning in an effective manner?
  • How can the local communities be engaged in co-creating solutions to provide educational infrastructure and facilities within their localities?

CHALLENGE STATEMENT: High Maternal mortality and Child Mortality rate

The IDMC’s estimates indicating most displaced persons (92%) living within the host communities while the rest live in overcrowded camps or camp-like sites with few basic amenities is a signal to the health challenges faced within these communities. The over-stretched resources with poor sanitation and lack of access to primary health clinics leads to a range of health issues from outbreak of communicable diseases, increase in maternal and child mortality rate and in recent reports, the spread of deadly diseases such as HIV/AIDS.

In an April 2017 report from the Borno Agency for HIV/AIDS (BOSACA) it was stated that about 3,800 new cases of HIV infections have been recorded between January to March 2017 in IDP camps in Borno State after a voluntary screening in 15 IDPs camps. Among those tested, 70 children tested positive.

Read more Here

The challenges of maternal and child mortality continues to persist in the North-East as reports by UNICEF estimate the following numbers:

  • Every 10 minutes, 1 woman dies on account of pregnancy or childbirth in Nigeria giving a total of 53,000 per year. That is, about 800 women die every 100,000 live births.
  • Recorded new born death rates in Nigeria (neonatal mortality) shows 528 deaths per day, one of the highest in the world. The highest neonatal death rate within the first 28 days of life is in the Northeast and Northwest regions of Nigeria.  9 out of 10 new born deaths are preventable
  • The Northeast zone has the highest maternal mortality rate of 1,549/100,000 live births compared to 165/100,000 live births in the Southwest zone.

Read more Here

The Challenge

High Maternal mortality and Child Mortality rate due to lack of care of pregnant mothers, poor health awareness on, insufficient funds and access to healthcare facilities make this a serious challenge for the populations in the Northeast especially the vulnerable IDPs.



  • What innovative solutions or systems could be used to ensure that pregnant women are cared for before, during and after pregnancy in terms of food/ nutrition and adequate shelter?
  • How can innovation be implemented in educating communities in the Northeast on health, nutrition and childcare?
  • How can innovation solve the challenge of accessibility of healthcare workers to vulnerable communities and vice versa to during the course of pregnancy?
  • What systems can be utilized in order to provide financial aid and support to pregnant women in vulnerable conditions to enable quick access to healthcare facilities?
  • How can innovation be utilized to enhance the referral system across the primary health care clinics in the region?
  • How can nutritional needs and common diseases be addressed before during and after pregnancy?

What measures can be used to tackle the rise and spread of diseases within the local communities?

CHALLENGE STATEMENT: Gender Based Violence (GBV)

Conflict, insecurity, lack of access to justice and cultural factors exacerbate the prevalence and culture of violence particularly directed towards the young girls and women. In order for peace and reconciliation talks to be successful, measures must be taken to protect the rights of the vulnerable especially women and children living in the region, IDP camps and host communities.

The Challenge

    • How can the culture of silence and stigmatization following gender based violence be addressed so as to ensure that those affected have access to safety, security, healthcare and justice?
    • How can violence and insecurity be addressed through working with perpetrators
    • How can some of the root causes of violence such as drug addiction, revenge rape, sugar daddies, mentally disturbed, voodoo be addressed?

CHALLENGE STATEMENT: Lack of access to justice and human security

However, the dynamics across other affected states in the region calls for tailored efforts of the local communities in these states to come together to seek justice, equity, reconciliation and conflict resolution through peace talks to begin the journey to healing for the many lives marred by the crisis.


The Challenge

    • How can legal services be made available, affordable and supported by guidance for those affected by violence?
    • How can the communication and accessibility challenges be addressed to reach vulnerable communities in high risk regions for peace building and conflict resolution?
    • How can the culture of silence and stigmatization following gender based violence be addressed so as to ensure that those affected have access to safety, security, healthcare and justice
    • How can innovation be used to solve disputes within the communities arising from differences based on mistrust in host communities and IDP camps
    • How can the local community play a role in checking crime rate and identifying vulnerable groups to prevent the cycle of more youth falling prey to crime?
    • What approaches can be used to reintegrate victims and escapees back in communities to avoid segregation and being ostracized in the community?