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This article seeks to show a sustainable way of empowering and relocating internally displaced persons in Nigeria. It shows the Project 1 Nation approach; empowerment, one family at a time. And finally, it encourages other well-meaning individuals, faith-based organisations and non-profit organisations to join in the empowerment and relocation of internally displaced persons in Nigeria.

Think about your life for a moment. You live in a comfortable house with your family, you have a job that caters to your needs (even if you wish you were paid better), your kids attend good schools and you can afford to pay their school fees every term. Now, imagine someone taking all of that away. Your home, your family, your child’s education, everything. And you are forced to live with 65 other families in a crowded school, where clean water is a luxury and your meal for the day is uncertain. That is the case of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Nigeria.

Internally displaced persons are people who have been forced to flee their homes due to disasters, violence or unrest but still remain within the borders of their country. In Nigeria, the Boko Haram insurgency has caused over 2 million people to be internally displaced, making Nigeria the home of Africa’s largest IDPs.

The scenario described above is no exaggeration.  These people have lost everything and are now dependent on faith-based organisations, foundations and well-meaning individuals for their daily bread.

What Has Been Done To Help IDPs in Nigeria?

In Abuja, Plateau, Gombe, Nassarawa, Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Kaduna, Kano, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara, IDP camps have been set up in over 207 LGAs. These camps have been set up both by the government and NGOs.

Churches, NGOs and individuals contribute to their daily survival by providing food, clothes and medical supplies to these camps. However, little or nothing is done to see that these people are empowered to build their lives again.

A Sustainable Solution to the IDP Situation in Nigeria – The Project 1 Nation Model

What if there was a way to end the IDP situation in Nigeria? What if there was a way to get all of these 2 million people back into secure homes with a means of livelihood, so they can fend for themselves and their families (as they once did)?

Well, that’s the route Project 1 Nation is taking. Relocating and empowering IDPs one family at a time.

Project 1 Nation, a group of young Nigerians that are committed to the empowerment of IDPs in Nigeria, has been supporting IDPs in Jos by raising and providing funds to IDP family heads to start up businesses and pay for their children’s education.

With this model, each family head is provided with capital to start a business and the children’s school fees are taken care of for a year. Within that year, it is expected that the family heads of each of our beneficiary families would have built a small (yet growing) business that generates sufficient income to take over the child’s school fees, continue to provide for their families, and provide a permanent home for them.

How Can You Help? 

Yes, donating relief materials like food, medical supplies and clothing is great. But IDPs need more than relief materials and physical supplies. They need to regain their human dignity and fend for themselves and provide for their families. You can support groups like Project 1 Nation that is committed to providing relief and empowering IDPs, one family at a time with you donations in cash and in kind.

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This article was first published on 14th July 2016

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