17 Dec 2021
By: IOM Germany

Meet Hajara and Zainab. Two generations of women who fled violent conflict. Each with their own story. Hajara is a mother who had to flee conflict after she lost her husband. She had no time to grief and fought for her children. She fled and brought them to a safe camp in another area. Zainab is a child who had to escape violence. She is strong and vigilant. Zainab helps her parents and siblings to survive by making goods to sell in a camp. 

Nigeria. Internal conflict causes humanitarian disasters in Nigeria. The number of internally displaced people is high. In most humanitarian settings these people are severely vulnerable. Mostly to to WASH related diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, acute watery diarrhea etc.

Bolori camp in Maiduguri Local Government Area of Borno State Nigeria is a typical IDP camp. The site consists of 3,750 plus individuals. They have had a lot of challenges and constraints including hygiene and sanitation concerns.

Hand washing campaigns played a significant role in changing the lifestyles of those in the camp. With the help of the IOM Hygiene Promotion and Community Engagement volunteers much was improved.

Hajara Hassan, a 54-year-old woman from Baga town in Kukawa local government area is displaced since 2018. She now resides in Umara Bolori camp in Maiduguri with her children. Unfortunately, she was separated from her husband because of the conflict. In her own words, she explains:

“In Baga, we washed our hands with only water from not so hygienic source, rather questionable source, […] Now we have access to soap and clean water to wash hands when we use latrines, that’s quite a change [...] There are handwashing stations with soap sometimes right outside the latrines”

Zainab Usman, 13-years-old from Doro town in Kukawa Local Government Area (Maiduguri) of Borno State, stays in the camp with her parents and siblings since 2018. Her family had to flee due to attacks. She helps her parent in marking ropes from straw for sale across the camp. 

“I know the importance of washing my hands…Children in the camp are educated on handwashing during the hygiene club for kids […] we have fun while learning to stay clean and healthy."

During the outbreak of COVID-19 in Nigeria, risk communication and community engagement messaging became important. The IOM WASH Team also intensified hand washing campaigns. It helped to prevent the spread of the virus as well as other WASH related diseases. 

IOM also invested in the set-up of an Isolation Center and  PCR Lab set up to deal with the pandemic in Maiduguri and Northeast Nigeria.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

IOM receives funding from the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO) for “Strengthening IOM's COVID-19 Life-Saving Response in Humanitarian Settings” in several countries around the world as part of IOM’s Strategic Response and Recovery Plan for COVID-19 (SRRP). We would like to tell the stories of some of the people who benefited from this support.

SDG 3 - Good Health and Well Being
SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities