By Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
Nigeria’s first humanitarian innovation hub was on Tuesday launched in Yola, Adamawa State.
The hub, which was created by the Nigerian National Social Investments Programme (NNSIP) is to foster creative local solutions that can be developed to tackle humanitarian issues resulting from the ongoing conflict in the country’s North-east.
According to a statement by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), “The establishment of the hub is the result of the Northeast Makeathon, a project supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) that brought together internally displaced persons, humanitarian actors, social and business entrepreneurs from the public and private sector to identify priority challenges to be addressed in the North-east such as access to food, water, health, education and shelter.”
The statement signed by Esther Akpa,
Communication Officer, ICRC, revealed that: “People were then invited to submit ideas, tackle those challenges, a process that led to more than 1,500 applications. The best proposals were selected for two strategic pitching events in Yola and Abuja, from which 25 people were selected for a one-week bootcamp and to present their ideas at today’s launch. Successful prototypes will be selected for further development at the humanitarian hub.”
The statement quoted Eloi Fillion, ICRC’s Head of Delegation in Nigeria, as saying: “This has been an exciting and interesting journey for all of us.
“The prototypes presented today represent the most unique and innovative ideas to tackle some of the most difficult challenges facing Nigeria. We are confident that the prototypes selected for incubation in the hub will evolve into sustainable solutions that will change the lives of people for the better.”
The statement claimed that many of the bootcamp participants are from communities that have been hard hit by conflict, one of them, Adamu Atinurcha, said: “I am from the region and lost my business due to the conflict. I have been able to rebuild my business and the NEMakeathon is giving me an opportunity to give back and help the region rebuild.”
The ICRC has worked in Nigeria on various humanitarian challenges for the past 30 years. In the last nine years, it has significantly scaled up its operations in response to the consequences of the armed conflict in the North-east.
Out of its 13 offices in Nigeria, the ICRC has five offices operating in the North-east, namely Maiduguri, Yola, Damaturu, Mubi and Biu. In 2017 alone, it assisted over a million people in the North-east with relief aid and livelihood assistance.