Protection and safe access to livelihoods for women and girls affected by the humanitarian crisis in Borno State, Nigeria.
In the north-east part of Nigeria, the crisis caused by the Boko Haram insurgency has created thousands of victims and caused a massive displacement of civilians to safer parts of the country. In 2018, 7.7 million people are in need of humanitarian aid, and 3 million are experiencing food insecurity. Most of these internally displaced people are crop and animal farmers who are facing severe vulnerability and precarious conditions. They are also crowded into camps and no longer have access to their land or livestock.
A major problem facing these displaced people is a lack of access to cooking fuels. Women and girls can’t go into the forest or countryside to collect firewood, as the danger of being attacked, abducted or killed by Boko Haram is too great. Without secure access to these areas, and without money to buy fuel, they have to find other ways to survive, which impacts their health and human dignity.
To respond to this situation, the LÉGER FOUNDATION in Nigeria is proposing a second initiative in the Lake Chad Basin region to complement the integrated emergency assistance response for displaced people in the far north of Cameroon funded by Global Affairs Canada.
With the help of its Nigerian partner, the Gender Equality, Peace and Development Centre (GEPaDC), the LÉGER FOUNDATION has a solution for this issue: training women to make briquettes from plant biomass that they can collect at the camps. These briquettes are an alternative and more efficient fuel, and making them poses fewer risks since they can be manufactured inside the camps. Briquette sales will be combined with the distribution of better stoves, which will save even more on fuel consumption.
The women trained to make these briquettes will enjoy an economic independence in a society that is still deeply patriarchal. The briquette manufacturing workshops will become safe spaces for women where they will get education and training on domestic violence. Another component of the project involves educating men in the community about gender issues and creating allies who will actively seek to change the attitudes that underlie gender inequality.
This pilot project will start in two camps of displaced people in the main town of Maiduguri but could be expanded to multiple camps outside the city.