The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on Friday expressed worry that attacks by Boko Haram have continued to slow down its operation in northeast Nigeria where it plans to spend $4 million this year.
The UN body said it had secured donations from its development partners and planned to spend the money on humanitarian activities in the region.
Boko Haram insurgency has affected about 4.5 million people especially women and children.
UNDP’s regional coordinator and head of Maiduguri Sub-Office, Joerg Kuehnel, told journalists in Maiduguri that most areas targeted were inaccessible and unsecured because Boko Haram insurgents were still using them as hideouts.
He mentioned some of the challenges to include the “understanding of the scope of the crisis in the Lake Chad Basin, problem of poverty of the populace affected by the insurgency, delay in recognizing what really the Boko Haram crisis was on time and security challenges as most communities were inaccessible”.
Mr. Kuehnel also pointed out that the issue of coordination of the humanitarian partners under the United Nations for the various intervention programs has been a great challenge to the UNDP.
He however noted that some progress had been made on the part of governments agreeing to collaborate with humanitarian partners.
“We are on the ground in three most affected states; Yobe, Borno, and Adamawa,” said Mr. Kuehnel.
“With the establishment of our Sub in Maiduguri, we have scaled up our work to build upon successes and pilot interventions from 2016, including immediate livelihood support, infrastructure reconstruction and rehabilitation, and de-radicalization and prevention of violent extremism.”
“We have designed and rolled out an Integrated Community Stabilization Program, which is aimed at helping both internally displaced people and host communities to better withstand the crisis and to pave the way towards a peaceful, sustainable future.”
The head of UNDP Sub Office added that, “In partnership with the Governments of Japan, Norway, Switzerland, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), we are piloting the integrated program in two Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Borno State where plans are underway to expand to Yobe and Adamawa States.
Lessons from these pilot interventions will inform the scaling up of the integrated program to 50 communities in five LGAs, targeting more than 1,000,000 direct and indirect beneficiaries, he said.
He said the “UNDP is working for strong partnerships that are critical to implement an integrated approach and to ensure the gap is bridged between the humanitarian efforts, recovery, and our longer term development.”
As part of the UNDP achievements in the north east, he said, there was provision for unconditional cash grants to over 80,000 most vulnerable persons, reconstruction of 11 schools, clinics and government buildings and provision of cash-for-work to 4,000 skilled and unskilled community workers.
“Supporting over 3,400 farmers (20% women) with agricultural inputs, farm implements and cash to restart farming activities. Supporting 3,200 small business owners with grants, equipment or training for diversification and new skills,” he said.