“Despite severe humanitarian needs, the current crisis in Nigeria has attracted relatively little attention
from international donors compared with other crises.”
(Crisis Briefing by Alexandra Spencer, 16 February 2015:
Humanitarian funding analysis – Nigeria: Boko Haram Insurgency.
What is a Partner?
By partners we mean groups and non-profit organizations, even individual victims, who we have reason to believe are able to receive humanitarian aid and can be trusted to manage it for the benefit of a defined group of victims, a community, a kin or ethnic group, refugees in a camp, and so on. Thus partners will include organizations such as the Red Cross/Crescent to whom we expect donors will prefer to contribute directly, besides those to whom we ourselves send assistance. We intend to be flexible and at the same time extremely careful both in recommending partners and in distributing donations made to BHVR.
If you do donate directly to any of the partners listed below we would appreciate your informing us at email@example.com.
This gives us some measure of our effectiveness — or lack of it.
We have three main strategies.
One is to find out from media and other sources what charities and other non-profit organizations are distributing humanitarian aid in the four countries affected by Boko Haram, and more specifically in the afflicted areas. We then research these organizations, mainly on the internet, contacting them directly if necessary.
Second, we make inquiries among researchers in the region, many of whom have deep regional knowledge of the land and its peoples, as to persons and organizations that are or represent victims, who are accountable, with whom we can communicate, and who might qualify as partners.
Third, we ourselves are seeking and finding partners in the Michika and Madagali Local Government Areas of Adamawa State, Nigeria, where we have lived for considerable periods. Many of the communities and local groups in this and other regions have active development associations, elected by the people and accountable to them, and at least one director likely to have access to email. In our experience these organizations are likely to make good partners, especially when refugees return home and start rebuilding their lives.
It is early days yet and we have so far identified few partners. Be assured that this is a process that starts slowly and builds. It should be remembered that is BHVR policy neither to solicit from nor donate to governmental or religious institutions or agencies. To do so would be to lay ourselves open to all kinds of misunderstandings and accusations.
Below we identify a variety of recommended partners. We have been warned that a number of NGOs have recently been created in northeastern Nigeria that appear highly political, fraudulent or simply ineffective. Your empathy and generosity are best accompanied by understanding and caution.
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
The IRC movement comprises the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies that exist in nearly every country in the world. The interrelations of these organizations are complex and it is not always possible to ensure that donations go exactly where you may wish. However the Red Cross/Crescent organization has recently initiated a “Nigeria and Lake Chad Crisis” campaign intended primarily for the relief of Boko Haram victims. You can donate here. More information on the joint activities of the IRC and the Cameroonian Red Cross can be found (in French) here.
Donations to the International Committee of the Red Cross can be made to their bank as specified here.
We infer that the new IRC campaign brings under one roof the four emergency appeals, one each in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad launched in the September 2014 by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). These responses to the effects of Boko Haram insurgency are being carried out through the national Red Cross/Red Crescent societies. For example, appeal MDRNG018 supports the Nigerian Red Cross/Crescent (NRCS) in providing humanitarian aid for internally displaced persons in the NE Nigerian states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. These are Boko Haram victims. It also works through the Red Cross/Crescent societies of Chad, Cameroon and Niger. The IFRC, working through the the national societies, is making a significant contribution to the assistance of BH victims and deserves support. (It should be possible to donate online to the national societies but the link to the NRCS was not working when we tried it and the link provided by the IFRC is aimed at a quite different website. A pity.)
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
The UNHCR provides protection and assistance for Nigerians fleeing Boko Haram attacks in Cameroon, Chad and Niger. There are more than 30,000 refugees at Minawao camp in the Northern Region of Cameroon. Donations, best directed to their Food Crisis Appeal, can be made online and are processed in US dollars. Canadians can donate via UNHCR Canada and there are similar organizations in many other countries.
International Rescue Committee (ICR)
Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the ICR provides emergency support in Niger and Nigeria for victims of Boko Haram. It is “currently supporting thousands of refugees fleeing ongoing violence in the northeast that has plagued the region. It is working with local primary health care facilities to reduce malnutrition and improve water, sanitation and hygiene in conflict-affected areas for more than 300,000 people”. Donations, which cannot be earmarked for particular programs, can be made by US and Canada donors here and by those living elsewhere on a separate online form.
Medecins sans Frontières (MSF)
MSF has been active in northeast Nigeria for some time and is now operating in Maiduguri as described here. It is also working in Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Descriptions of the projects under way in each of these countries can be quickly accessed through the search facility on its website. MSF has an excellent reputation. A minimum of 80% of the funds it raises is directed to its programs, the remainder to fundraising (≤16%) and administration (≤4%). For these reasons we recommend MSF as a partner even though it is not possible for donors to direct funds to particular countries. Various kinds of donations (e.g., one time, monthly) can be made online.
The American University of Nigeria (AUN) is located in Yola, the capital of Adamawa state, one of those under a state of emergency due to the Boko Haram insurgency. It was founded by Atiku Abubakar, a former Nigerian vice-president. It describes itself as a “development university”, involving faculty and students in a variety of development and humanitarian aid projects. In 2012 AUN partnered with local Christian, Muslim and other community leaders and groups to promote harmony and stability through the formation of the Adamawa Peace Initiative (API). The present security situation in the region, with refugees flooding into Yola and its environs as their home towns, villages and rural settlements were overrun by Boko Haram, has resulted in AUN and API organizing and distributing humanitarian aid to these IDPs. AUN President Margee Ensign was personally involved in bringing some of the Chibok girls who escaped Boko Haram to the campus. A total of 21 Chibok students have received scholarships for enrollment in a specialized academic program. A recent BBC News article by Margee Ensign describes the refugee situation and AUN’s aims for the future.
It is clear that the AUN/API combination is doing excellent work. One can donate online through the AUN Foundation, and direct your contribution to a variety of different campaigns including FoordAid, Feed and Read and Aid for Rescued Women. Although focused on Adamawa state, the API’s interests extend into Borno.
The Kinjir Foundation, Yola, was founded by the Hon. Saleh Kinjir, a former minister in the Adamawa state government, in 2005. It is incorporated with the Federal Nigerian Corporate Affairs Commission with the number CAC/IT/NO1971O. We have known him since 1992 and have the highest opinion of his organization skills, energy and honesty. We are therefore formally recommending the Kinjir Foundation as a partner. Donations can be made as specified here. Much further information on the foundation and its activities follows.
The Foundation’s mission is:
- · to provide services in various areas of society.
- · to serve humanity in humility.
- · to create awareness of positive aspects of life as taught by major religions revealed to humans.
- · to enlighten the public on their responsibilities to fellow humans and government.
- · to promote cultural awareness, conflict resolution, peace and unity through seminars, lectures, workshops, social and other events.
The foundation normally operates in three areas, namely:
- · the Kinjir Water and Environmental Health Initiative deals primarily with sanitation.
- · Kungiyar Kare Kuriar Talakawa (3KT) works towards the enlightenment, political awareness and mobilization of the poor.
- · the foundation also partners with (separately registered) GSK Resort and Tours to assist business, cultural, and tourism programs, for example to advocate for an International Mandara Mountains Peace Park..
“Intercession, reconciliation, and provision of social amenities have characterized our operations for the nine years of our existence.”
However since the first attack in 2012 by Boko Haram in Madagali Local Government Area (LGA), the foundation has mobilized its staff to provide humanitarian aid to its victims, mainly in the form of food, medicine and clothing. In 2014 the insurgents’ conquests in the northern part of Adamawa state, including the towns of Madagali, Gulak, Uba and Mubi led to a mass movement of refugees southwards, many of whom ended up in Yola. The Kinjir Foundation accordingly formed a National Relief Committee that includes representatives of the Sukur, Tur (Nigerian Hide), Vemgo, Waga, Higi (Kamwe), Kilba (Huba), Bole and two Margi clans, together with one for Madagali town. The reach of the foundation extends also into Borno state with representatives of the Bura and Chibok and another for those inhabitants of Gwoza town who sought refuge in the south (see map).
In its Yola compound, transformed into a refugee camp, the Kinjir Foundation has registered over 3000 IDPs of various ethnic groups (sometimes referred to as “tribes”). The number resident in the camp is less than this since refugees prefer living with relatives and friends. Some craftsmen and businessmen have moved with their families into rented accommodation. Others have relocated to other towns and even other states in search of work. About 200 households are still being assisted through the Kinjir Foundation.
Upper Sukur, the Sukur hilltop settlement, constitutes the core area of the Sukur Cultural Landscape UNESCO World Heritage site. This and the Lower Sukur settlements on the plain have been subjected to Boko Haram raids, accompanied by murders, kidnapping and looting, the burning of houses and destruction of crops (described here). Upper Sukur has, like other mountain settlements, become a refuge not only for Sukur but for members of other ethnic communities. While this area was cut-off from the rest of Nigeria due to the takeover of Madagali and Michika by Boko Haram, the foundation sent food, clothing and medicine to the people living on the Sukur plateau. A small quantity of cholera vaccine was also delivered to assist in control of an outbreak of cholera in parts of Madagali LGA.
In summary, the Kinjir Foundation has responded energetically and effectively to the Boko Haram crisis, adapting its focus and its governance to become an effective vehicle for the provision of humanitarian aid to members of many of the ethnic groups of northern Adamawa and even southern Borno states. USAID has chosen to deliver aid through this foundation. BHVR directors David and Sterner have known Saleh Kinjir personally since 1992 and had no hesitation in sending money to the foundation via Western Union. The information received independently from recipients of Kinjir Foundation assistance indicate that the foundation is living up to its mission statement.
In November 2016 we received the following statement of the Kinjir Foundation’s intentions:
In 2017 cooperation between the American University of Nigeria, the Adamawa Peace Institute and the Kinjir Foundation will include, in addition to our work in Adamawa state, assistance to communities across state borders in Borno, Yobe and Gombe states. These include: Gwoza east of the Gwoza hills, metropolitan Gwoza (former seat of the Boko Haram “caliphate”), Izge, Lassa, Dille, Musa, Askira, Limankara, Yazza, Chibok, Pulka, Daggu, Kwamda, Dagali, Vizik, Bitiku,Tur, Uba, Kirawa, Mbalala, Wamdeo, Damboa, Rumirgo, Bama, Konduga, Bita, Banki and Dabbu.
Apart from providing relief materials in the form of food, medicine, seeds and clothing, we are helping to provide education for the very many boys and girls who have been out of school for far too long. We aim to assist in the teaching of basic literacy and numeracy, enabling them to read and write, add, subtract, multiply and divide.
To support the reconciliation of those who have suffered at the hands of Boko Haram with those who were, often forcibly, required to assist them in various ways we are opening up Communication Centres to encourage dialogue and facilitate non-violent interaction at various levels.
Due to the early stoppage of rainfall in Madagali and Michika Local Government Areas, both sorghum (guinea corn) and beans are scarce, a situation that will continue after the November-January harvest. In these relatively favoured Adamawa state LGAs, there could still be serious food shortages in 2017, and it will be far worse elsewhere. Dry season farming (flood retreat and irrigation agriculture) has to be encouraged along rivers and this also is included among our programmes.
We are delighted to see that reconciliation is becoming a priority and hope that other Nigerian institutions are taking similar steps.