Responding to the Crisis

A large scale holistic program continues providing emergency relief and early recovery, even as programming is transitioning to long term recovery activities in some communities with improved security. By caring for the whole person and community, providing

  • basic needs
  • spiritual care
  • trauma healing
  • education
  • agriculture and
  • community development
are all key parts of this response.

Learn more about:

Home construction * Home repair * Livelihood * Agriculture * Trauma recovery * Education * Food & supplies * Primary medical care * Church strengthening * Finances * 5 Year Plan * Response partners * Crisis information

New Home Building

New homes for displaced people are being built in safer areas of NE Nigeria. These 2-3 room homes are for families not able to return to their home community. All new home construction projects include providing drinking water, outside kitchens and safe sanitation facilities. Currently homes are completed or being built in Masaka, Gurku, Yola, Jalingo, Chinka and two locations in Jos.

New home construction at Gurku
Photo by Roxane Hill

New home construction at Gurku

Home repair and returnee support

As families return to their homes they are being provided roofing materials, household supplies, short term food and seeds for spring planting. Long term plans include supporting church reconstruction, trauma recovery workshops, vocational training and community development in the returnee communities.

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Burned home recently repaired.
Photo by Carl Hill

Burned home recently repaired.

Livelihood — Making a Living

One of the most effective ways to help a family recover is to enable them to work, earn their own money and help themselves. This includes support for micro business, skills training, and providing equipment and tools. This program focuses on the most vulnerable, especially widows with children.

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Sewing machines, cooking supplies and grinders will help displaced people begin to make a living.
Photo by Aishatu Margima

Sewing machines, cooking supplies and grinders will help displaced people begin to make a living.


Northeast Nigeria is predominantly an agrarian culture. Supporting agriculture is a key part of recovery and reestablishing livelihoods in the region. A major push has been to provide seeds and fertilizer to thousands of farmers for spring planting. This will mean many more families can provide some or all of their own food after the fall harvest. The agriculture projects also include farm animals such as chickens and goats.

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Glad to be plowing the fields
Photo by Roxane Hill

Glad to be plowing the fields

Peace Building and Trauma Recovery

Long term recovery is possible only when the cycles of violence are broken. A strong focus on trauma healing is critical for individuals and family life, and in promoting peaceful co-existence in their home villages. A large trauma healing program is holding trauma awareness workshops while training additional facilitators to reach more people in their own villages. The Nigeria Crisis Response and the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) are working alongside EYN in supporting this important program.

Trauma healing training with displaced church leaders.
Photo by Donna Parcell

Trauma healing training with displaced church leaders.

Children’s trauma recovery is being supported by a newly developed program of Children’s Disaster Services. Nigerian leaders were given training and helped to develop a curriculum to provide education and help to parents, teachers and churches in supporting traumatized children.

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Trauma healing program at school for orphans.
Photo by Kathy Fry-Miller

Trauma healing program at school for orphans.

Children and Education

Providing education for children is a critical part of their long term recovery and trauma healing. Some children have been out of school for up to two years. The response includes sponsoring a school in Jos, supporting orphans, providing school fees for children in other towns, and supplies for thousands of children. New schools have been started for displaced children in safe areas. In some communities displaced teachers have been employed to run temporary schools so that education can continue.

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Under the mango tree - temporary school for displaced children.
Photo by Dave Sollenberger

Under the mango tree - temporary school for displaced children.

Food and Household Supplies

Food and basic household supply is an ongoing cornerstone of the relief effort. A major part of 2015 & early 2016 programming has been food distribution. These will continue until the harvest allows families to support themselves. A typical distribution includes corn, rice, vegetable oil, noodles, spices, sleeping mats, water containers, cooking and dining supplies, soap and other hygiene supplies. Food distributions are planned until next harvest season in Oct. 2016.

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Returning to her temporary housing grateful for badly needed food and supplies.
Photo by Karen Hodges

Returning to her temporary housing grateful for badly needed food and supplies.

Primary Medical Care

Medical care is being provided in temporary camps, churches, as part of food distributions, at new relocation centers and at existing clinics in the Northeast.

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Pharmacy in a care center
Photo by Jim Beckwith

A pharmacy in a care center

Church Recovery and Strengthening

With all national staff displaced, the Church headquarters overrun, and two-thirds of the churches destroyed, the Church body was in crisis. A critical part of this response has been to support EYN leadership so they can help lead the recovery efforts. Through church strengthening, EYN has built capacity to be the largest response partner is this crisis. Through this effort temporary EYN headquarters were established in Jos, Kulp Bible College (KBC) was relocated, key meetings were supported and housing for displaced national church leaders were provided. In 2016, with improved security around Kwarhi, EYN headquarters has now been repaired and KBC has returned to its original site and has reopened for students. With better security, many families are returning to this area.

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The new guest house at the EYN Jos compound is supporting church recovery and strengthening.
Photo by Karen Hodges

The new guest house at the EYN Jos compound is supporting church recovery and strengthening.

Response finances

2017 Nigeria Crisis Response Budget
Areas of Ministry/Relief Activity 2017 Budget
Repairing Homes 90,000
Peace Building and Trauma Recovery 55,000
Agriculture (Seeds, Fertilizer & Tools) 186,857
Livelihood (Making a living) 80,000
Education (Children including orphans) 50,000
Food, Medical & Home Suppplies 120,000
EYN Strengthening (Church Recovery) 10,000
US Volunteers, Staff, Travel, Misc 45,000
Famine & Malnutrition Special Reserve 113,143
Total $750,000

Nigeria Crisis Response Financial Activity 2014-16

Areas of Ministry/Relief Activity Expenses
Rebuilding Homes 1,103,807
Peace Building and Trauma Recovery 164,778*
Agriculture and Livelihood 708,706
Education (Children including orphans) 292,748
Food, Medical & Home Suppplies 1,062,011
EYN Strengthening (Church Recovery) 794,209
US Volunteers, Staff, Travel, Misc 277,315
Total $4,403,574
* MCC has provided EYN an additional $75,000 for trauma recovery

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Five Year Plan

The five year plan is a comprehensive $11.2 million program that establishes the priorities developed in collaboration with EYN. It is based on a flexible framework that can adjust to the security situation in Nigeria As the crisis changes, our yearly goals will change to meet current needs. Each year the response will include activities from all the phases, with the goal of decreasing phase 1 work as soon as possible and focusing on community recovery/rebuilding.

Phase 1: Emergency Response Activities

Budget Goal: $3.8 million

  • Build homes or shelters for displaced Nigerian families
  • Provide water, food, medical care and safety for displaced families
  • Support and strengthen EYN to be leaders in the response

Phase 2: Recovery Activities

Budget Goal: $2.8 million

  • Expand peace programming with EYN
  • Provide extensive trauma recovery and resiliency training at local levels
  • Provide education for displaced children
  • Provide special programming for child trauma healing
  • Continue emergency food programs until farming resumes
  • Provide seeds and fertilizer
  • Help IDPS’s establish new livelihood activities even while in camps or after relocation
  • Relocate families from areas unlikely to be safe in the next 5 years

Phase 3: Community Recovery/Rebuilding

Budget Goal: $4.6 million

  • Repair burned and damaged homes as families return to their communities
  • Repair EYN headquarters and Kulp Bible College when the area is secure
  • Assist with community wide agricultural sector recovery and improvements
  • Provide safe drinking water
  • Encourage and support community peace building
  • Support an international peace conference in Nigeria
  • Support communities in providing and improving education for children
  • Assist EYN in rebuilding churches

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Response Partners

Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, Church of the Brethren in Nigeria)
EYN is the primary COB partner receiving 70% of the response funds.

Center for Caring, Empowerment and Peace Initiatives (CCEPI)
With a primary mission to aid widows, orphans and women with children, CCEPI has expanded to meet broader needs in this crisis. CCEPI is focusing more on livelihood support for widows and orphans.

Lifeline Compassionate Global Initiative (LCGI)
This interfaith program started in Jos and is a model interfaith relocation project located close to Abuja with 62 relocated Christian and Muslim families. There are plans to build more homes.

Women and Youth Empowerment for Advancement and Health Initiative (WYEAHI)
This NGO concentrates on providing small business opportunities to displaced individuals.

Favored Sisters Christian Fellowship
FSCF is a group of several hundred women who are providing education for displaced children and orphans.

Education Must Continue Initiative (EMCI)
This new partner is a newly formed nonprofit in Nigeria helping thousands of displaced children receive schooling in Yola, Lassa and Jos.

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Crisis Details

The 2016 Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) reports 14.8 million people have been affected by the Boko Haram violence in Northeast Nigeria. Around 2.2 million people were still displaced at the beginning of 2016. Only about 8% of these internally displaced people (IDP) are in Nigerian government run camps or settlements, and the Nigerian authorities only provide aid to these camps. The rest of the displaced are living with family or friends, or being supporting by church programs like this Nigeria Crisis Response or some of the limited number of NGOs in the area.

There are many concerns for the displaced families with the biggest issue being access to food. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates 2.5 million children are malnourished. There are few ways for displaced people to grow food or earn some type of livelihood. Other major issues include drinking water, waste sanitation, and violence against women (gender based violence). As families move away from Boko Haram violence, the situations in the displacement camps and host communities too often add additional trauma to their lives.

Reports from Nigeria indicate the terrorist group, known as Boko Haram, has been pushed into a large unincorporated area called the Sambisa Forest by joint action of Nigerian military with aid from neighboring Cameroon, Niger and Chad militaries. While Boko Haram has been weakened, they are still bringing terror through suicide bombings, attacks on farmers and night raids on towns near the forest. Through the combination of these joint military operations and security teams (or militias) created by local people, fewer people are dying than in 2014, but the terror of a Boko Haram attack still looms over a large area of Borno state. More information is available on the Resources page.

Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) has been the hardest hit group by this violence. There are other Christian churches and Muslims impacted, but not to the degree EYN has been affected.

Crisis Impact on EYN

  • More than 1,350 women and children kidnapped, many of whom are EYN members
  • Over 11,000 EYN members killed
  • EYN Headquarters, Kulp Bible College and other church structures were evacuated and overrun by Boko Haram in October 2014. This area was reclaimed by the Nigerian Military in 2015 and repairs have been made to these facilities.
  • All of EYN’s national leadership was displaced in 2014 & 2015
  • EYN programs, including the Integrated Community Development Program, have been severely hurt through this crisis.
  • 1,668 churches and church branches burned or abandoned
  • An estimated 40% of the displaced are moving back to their home area with the exception of the Nigeria/Cameroon border area which continues to be very unsafe
  • In brief, about 70% of EYN churches were damaged or destroyed, about 70% of the members are displaced (around 700,000 people)

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