The Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board at its meeting earlier this month gave approval for the release of $500,000 of the Nigeria crisis funds from the denomination’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF). Brethren Disaster Ministries requested this additional allocation to support Nigeria Crisis Response programing through the summer of 2017.
The Nigeria Crisis Response is a joint effort of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) with the Church of the Brethren and its Global Mission and Service and Brethren Disaster Ministries.
The 2017 response plan continues key ministries in Nigeria but at a reduced level of funding because donations toward the effort fell off significantly in 2016, staff reported to the board. Program priorities going forward are more focused on recovery activities that will help families become more self-supporting, now that about 70 percent of EYN members who were displaced by violence and the Boko Haram insurgency have now returned home.
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Working with partners, program ministries totaling $690,000 are planned during 2017. EYN continues as the primary partner for the Church of the Brethren, and will receive some 70 percent of the response funds. Other partners include the Center for Caring, Empowerment and Peace Initiatives (CCEPI), Lifeline Compassionate Global Initiative (LCGI), Women and Youth Empowerment for Advancement and Health Initiative (WYEAHI), Favored Sisters Christian Fellowship, and Education Must Continue Initiative (EMCI).
Specific foci for the 2017 work in Nigeria include:
- Repairing homes damaged by fire and vandalism in the Biu and Lassa areas.
- Continuing peacebuilding and trauma recovery as a cornerstone of the response. Adult programming will be provided in seven new areas. The program developed by Children’s Disaster Services on trauma healing for children will continued to be expanded by EYN Women’s Ministry.
- Agriculture as a key part of recovery for displaced families to be able to return to farming and have the ability to support themselves. Seed, fertilizer, and tools will be distributed to 2,000 farmers. A soybean development program is being worked on in consultation with the US Soybean Innovation Labs. Two tractors are being purchased to assist farmers in areas around Abuja and the EYN headquarters in Kwarhi.
- Livelihood (making a living) as another key for recovery. This programming focuses on the most vulnerable in the community, especially widows with children, providing them with equipment and training for sewing, bean cake businesses, machines for grinding grain and ground nut processing, computer skills, knitting, and soap making.
- Education for children as a critical part of long term recovery and to reduce the long-term negative impacts of the crisis and trauma. In this crisis, some children have been out of school for more than two years. In addition, through this programming orphans of the crisis are receiving food, clothing, housing, and assistance.
- Food, medical, and home supplies that continue to be necessary for some families who are still displaced and for families returning to their homes. Supporting the reopening of EYN clinics is an ongoing need. This budget includes $10,000 to assist in repairing the EYN clinic in Kwarhi.
- The strengthening of EYN (church recovery). These funds are significantly reduced in 2017 with repairs to EYN headquarters and Kulp Bible College completed in 2016. Going forward, funds will support EYN staff, meetings, and publications that are still impacted by crisis.
- Expenses of the travel of American volunteers and Church of the Brethren staff. This covers the expenses of staff engagement in the response, managing the funds, providing training and technical support, and sending volunteers from the United States to support EYN and the response.
- Famine and malnutrition. Special reserve funds are being held to help address malnutrition among children and the growing concern about famine in parts of northern Nigeria. Partner organizations will be able to request some or all of the funds to address found needs.
Prior EDF grants for this appeal total $3,800,000 and include initial designations from existing funds made by the Mission and Ministry board to the amount of $500,000 in October 2014 and $1,000,000 in March 2016.
An additional $115,000 that is not part of the EDF has been budgeted from designated Global Mission funds to help with rebuilding churches in Nigeria.
A PowerPoint presentation on the Nigeria Crisis Response that was given to the Mission and Ministry Board at its meeting earlier this month is available online as a PDF. The presentation gives details about the current status of the relief work in Nigeria, as well as an update on the situation of South Sudan. Find the presentation at www.brethren.org/bdm/files/nigeria-south-sudan-update-2017-3.pdf.