Church of the Brethren staff working with the Nigeria Crisis Response have provided financial details and accounting of the relief effort in Nigeria, which responds to needs of those affected by the violent Islamist insurgency in the northeast of the country. The crisis response is a cooperative effort of the Church of the Brethren and Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria).
Brethren Disaster Ministries has issued an appeal for $5.3 million to fund two years of the effort. Carl and Roxane Hill, co-directors of the Nigeria Crisis Response and Global Mission and Service staff, have provided a detailed accounting of the $1,031,086 spent as of April 15, and what has been accomplished with that money.
The Nigeria Crisis Response is funded through generous donations from Brethren congregations and individuals, ecumenical partners, and other groups and individuals. As of April 15, donations amounted to $1,299,800.51. When added to the $1.5 million in “seeds funds” designated by the Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board out of denominational reserves and existing monies in the Emergency Disaster Fund, the total comes close to $2.8 million.
Other partners in the work in Nigeria are Mission 21, which recently signed a memorandum of understanding regarding its participation; and Mennonite Central Committee, whose Nigeria staff are providing training for trauma healing workshops in partnership with EYN. Christian Aid Ministries is another US-based organization helping to fund the work in Nigeria, working through the Church of the Brethren to aid EYN.
The Church of the Brethren also is partnering with and supporting several Nigerian NGOs including the Center for Caring, Empowerment, and Peace Initiatives (CCEPI), which is led by Rebecca Dali, wife of EYN president Samuel Dali; Lifeline Compassionate Global Initiatives (LCGI), led by EYN staff liaison Markus Gamache; Women and Youth Empowerment for Advancement and Health Initiative (WYEAHI), which helps displaced people find new livelihoods; and Favored Sisters Christian Foundation (FSCF), which works to educate displaced children.
Brethren Disaster Ministries estimates that although the current appeal for the Nigerian Crisis Response is for two years, the work will be of much longer duration.
As of April 15, the Nigeria Crisis Response program has spent $1,031,086:
— $387,558 to provide shelter for 3,000 displaced families, representing 24,000 people
— $205,621 to provide 2-3 months of food and supplies for 10,000 at-risk families
— $14,634 to support peacebuilding, trauma healing, and resiliency among displaced people
— $78,016 to support livelihoods and economic empowerment for 1,000 families
— $77,111 to support the education of 5,000 displaced children
— $226,209 to support and strengthen EYN as a church, including obtaining housing for displaced church staff and leadership and renovating and re-roofing an EYN headquarters annex in central Nigeria
— $88,842 to support Nigerian relief staff and help provide vehicles, office, and equipment
— $23,674 for new initiatives and other expenses
Staff note a number of accomplishments of the effort so far, which has included the purchase of three large pieces of land to build care centers where people displaced from northeast Nigeria may relocate in central Nigeria.
At these care center sites, bore holes have been dug to provide water, some of the land has been cleared, 56 shelters are completed, and families have moved in. Foundations have been laid for an additional 40 structures. In addition, new interfaith communities are being developed where Christians and Muslims are living side by side.
Distributions of food and household supplies have taken place at more than 25 sites, giving aid to more than 20,000 people who are displaced within Nigeria. In addition, some assistance has been provided to the more than 12,000 EYN members who are refugees in Cameroon.
Several hundred people have taken part in trauma healing workshops. A peace and democracy conference was held before the elections, among the efforts going on to promote peaceful co-existence between Christians and Muslims.
In the area of livelihoods and economic sustainability, seeds and farming implements will be distributed at the care centers as displaced people relocate there and begin farming. Gifts of small businesses have been provided to 200 families. Training in computer skills, sewing, and knitting are underway at Skills Acquisition Centers.
Many children have returned to school, but education is not free for Nigerians so crisis response funds have been used to help displaced children pay for school fees, uniforms, and books, and also to pay teachers’ salaries. Some 60 orphans also are being cared for on a full-time basis.
Much has been done to keep EYN functioning as a church despite the destruction of many of its congregations and most of its district infrastructure, as well as the need for its headquarters to relocate to central Nigeria. A new annex has been set up for the EYN Headquarters, and the building has been remodeled and reroofed. Housing has been obtained for all the denominational leaders and their families, and staff quarters are being built. A warehouse with storage space and housing for the relief staff has been purchased. An existing school property is being prepared to relocate Kulp Bible College. In addition, crisis response funds also have been used to help EYN hold its annual Minister’s Conference and Majalisa (annual meeting) this year.
EYN has hired seven staff to work on the relief effort, and has purchased two passenger vehicles and a large truck as well as equipment for the relief office. Also included in the Nigeria Crisis Response budget are the administrative costs of all the Nigerian NGOs that are part of the effort.
For more information about the Nigeria Crisis Response, go to www.brethren.org/nigeriacrisis .