For the last six years Northern Nigeria and the surrounding countries of Niger, Chad and Cameroon have been suffering under Boko Haram insurgency. Across the four countries affected, security and humanitarian conditions are still deteriorating as populations continue to flee the systemic violence and conflict. We’ve previously written about how WFP is using mVAM in Niger to get dynamic data to complement their face-to-face surveys but we also wanted to blog about what we are doing in Nigeria itself.
Recent offensives by the Nigerian government have meant that many areas of northeastern Nigeria have recently become accessible – ‘showing’ the depth of the humanitarian crisis. In the worst affected areas of Borno and Yobe states famine-like conditions may be occurring. It’s now estimated that 2.1 million people are displaced, 81% of whom are living in local communities. This influx of people, coupled with successive poor harvests and a worsening economy has also put a strain on the host communities, there are now 4.4 million people who are food insecure.
Security constraints in northeastern Nigeria continue to limit the ability to conduct traditional face-to-face surveys, especially in Borno state. As mVAM has proven itself a useful tool in conflict settings and gathering information in difficult to access areas, the Nigerian National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and WFP have opted to use remote data collection to collect basic food security and market data.
The scale of the crisis and affected population meant that we wanted to try and reach even more people than our normal sample sizes of 1500. In our June/July round, we managed to reach slightly over 6,000 households in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States, greatly increasing the reach and precision of our estimates.
Our findings showed that household purchasing power has deteriorated and more families are food insecure. In the Local Government Areas (LGA) of Potiskum in Yobe State and Maiduguri/Jere in Borno State, the percentage of severely food insecure households effectively doubled since February-March. In the same time period, prices for local rice and local maize have risen but manual labour wage rates did not increase, severely reducing household purchasing power. We also found that, despite this, only 11% of the surveyed population report that they received food assistance in the last 30 days.
Alongside collecting traditional food security indicators, this large sample size means that we had the chance to ask 6,000 households to express in their own words what the food security situation in their community. They told us:
“There is no food in the community. Because of the insurgency people have stopped farming” – Male Resident from Shelling, Adamawa
“The food situation over here is so critical…not only the IDPs, even the residents are suffering themselves“-Male IDP in Gujba, Yobe
“Food are scarce, even the middle spend all their income on food because of how difficult the situation is here” – Male Resident in Nguru, Yobe
As we prepare to call back these same households in November, we’d like help. If you had the chance to reach 6,000 households in Northern Nigeria – what would you ask?
Here’s the questionnaire we used last round. Please tell us what you would like to ask – just fill in the contact form below.