The nine-year conflict in north-east Nigeria has created a deepening humanitarian crisis. Violence by non-state armed groups and military operations continue to affect millions of people, and some 7.7 million people need urgent assistance in the worst-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe. Almost 1.9 million people, of which more than half are children, have been forced to flee their homes. In 2018, over 60 humanitarian organisations plan to assist 6.1 million people with nutrition, food, shelter, health, education, protection and water and sanitation support. Assistance will include early recovery and livelihood interventions to help people out of crisis and back on the path to development.
In late 2016, public partners, relief organisations and other key stakeholders involved in the humanitarian response in Nigeria, collectively expressed support for the establishment of the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund (NHF) as a strategic and vital tool to deliver the most urgent humanitarian relief. In February 2017, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator launched the NHF – a country-based pooled fund (CBPF) managed by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian (OCHA) – in support of life-saving humanitarian and recovery operations in Nigeria.
An investment in humanity
The NHF provides an opportunity for donors to pool their contributions to deliver a stronger collective response. It helps in-country relief organizations to reach the most vulnerable people and ensure maximum impact of limited resources:
The NHF is inclusive and promotes partnerships: Funds are directly available to a wide range of relief partners. This includes international, national and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs), UN Agencies and Red Cross/Red Crescent Organizations.
The NHF is timely and flexible: It supports the delivery of an agile response in a fluid emergency.
The NHF is efficient and accountable: It minimizes transaction costs and provides transparency and accountability. Recipient organizations are thoroughly evaluated and relief projects are monitored with regular reporting on achievements.
Coordinated, timely allocations
Under the leadership of the Humanitarian Coordinator (HC) in Nigeria, the NHF boosts the response with direct allocations to frontline responders for activities prioritized within the programmatic framework of the Nigeria Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP). This ensures that funding is available and prioritized at the local level by those closest to people in need.
The HC is supported by the Humanitarian Country Team and the NHF Advisory Board. The advisory board includes representatives of donors, national and international NGOs and UN agencies to ensure decisions reflect the views across the humanitarian community.
Operational support is provided by OCHA’s Humanitarian Financing Unit based in Maiduguri in Nigeria’s northeast. This set-up ensures that the NHF is managed from the epicentre of the crisis with allocation processes and monitoring close to operational partners and their projects, while maintaining a close link to strategic decision-making in the capital, Abuja. OCHA’s wider coordination activities on the ground (including needs assessments and common humanitarian planning) also help to ensure effective use of NHF funds.
Like all CBPFs, the NHF is designed to complement other humanitarian funding sources, such as bilateral funding and the Central Emergency Response Fund.
There are currently 18 active CBPFs globally. In 2017, they allocated more than $655 million to enable humanitarian partners to deliver lifesaving assistance to millions of people affected by natural disasters and armed conflicts. Following the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit, the UN Secretary-General stressed the critical role of CBPFs, and called on donors to increase the proportion of HRP funding channelled through CBPFs to 15 per cent by 2018. This would translate to close to $2 billion annually.
How country-based pooled funds make your aid truly life-saving: