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Nigeria: Interlacing emergency relief and longer-term impact for 1,700 families in Mafa, Borno State

07 May 2018

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A family enjoys a meal in one of the NHF-funded shelters built by ACTED in Mafa. Credit: OCHA/Yasmina Guerda

The town of Mafa is located about 55 km east of Borno’s capital, Maiduguri. After being captured by non-state armed groups, it was retaken by the Nigerian authorities in February 2015. Since then. displaced families who had been forced to flee the violence with nothing but the clothes on their backs have been occupying the town’s two educational facilities, the Mafa Primary School compound (Camp A) and the Government Girls’ Arabic Secondary School campus (Camp B), preventing those facilities from being used for their actual educational purpose.

The international NGO ACTED, through the Displacement Management Systems/Shelter and Non-food Items (NFIs) sector, applied for funding to the first NHF standard allocation in June 2017, to provide 500 reinforced emergency shelters and 1,600 NFI kits for displaced families, returnees and vulnerable persons in the host community in Mafa. The project required $730,000.

“I think what really appealed to the NHF Advisory Board and myself, was the idea that this project could achieve two important outcomes at once: on the one hand, it was going to dramatically improve the living conditions of over 1,700 families by enabling them to live in dignified conditions, and on the other hand, it was meant to free the school buildings so children could go back to their classrooms and resume their education,” said Edward Kallon, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria. “This interlacing of emergency relief provision and longer-term impact is perfectly aligned with the humanitarian community’s strategy for north-east Nigeria,” he explained.

The NHF team carried out a first mission to Mafa to monitor the project’s implementation progress in November 2017. Despite challenges and minor delays inherent to the operational environment of north-east Nigeria, the 500 shelters and NFI kits distribution have been completed by the set deadline of 31 March 2018.


NHF-funded shelters in Mafa. Credit: OCHA/Yasmina Guerda

The shelters themselves are upgraded emergency two-compartment structures with metal roofing, built in clusters of 10 to 14 to enhance the sense of community and mitigate protection risks in the camp. As advised by the sector’s site planning expert, the distance between each cluster was carefully calculated to avoid fires from spreading across the camp, even during the dry and strong winds season (October through April). “These shelters are really strong and spacious enough for me and my four children, and they will keep the water out when the rains come,” said 28-year-old Fatimala, whose husband was captured by non-state armed groups two years ago and has been raising her children by herself ever since.

To ensure that the project would be successful and meet its eight-month completion goal, ACTED carried out continuous consultations with the traditional leaders of the conflict-affected communities in Mafa, ensuring that they understood and endorsed the overall plans for construction and relocation of displaced families.