Presidency identifies 5 challenges for North-east humanitarian hub

Cyril Okonkwo, Yola

The Presidency and the Presidential Committee on the North East Initiative, PCNI, working in collaboration with other bodies, have prioritized five critical challenges to be focused on in the humanitarian innovation hub being developed for the North east region of Nigeria.

This was the outcome of the North-East Humanitarian Innovation Hub Stakeholder Engagement Session held on Tuesday at the Auditorium, Robert Pastor E-Library, American University of Nigeria, Yola, Adamawa State, North East Nigeria.

The challenges identified at the session were lack of access to food supply, resulting from low yield and poor self-reliance; lack of agricultural inputs, such as livestock, seedlings, fertilizer, land and machinery; and lack of access to financial services, including markets, infrastructure and skills.

Others were overstretched shelters and utilities in communities where internally displaced camps are located and high maternal mortality and child morbidity.

Participants at the session, which included internally displaced persons, IDPs, officials from the Office of the Vice President (OVP), members of the PCNI, delegates from states in North East Nigeria, the academia and non-governmental bodies, agreed that the five challenges were priorities that should be given priority in  the humanitarian innovation hub.

Ahmad Kazouini, the Water and Habit Deputy Director of the International Committee of the Red Cross, ICRC, one of the organizations partnering in the development of the innovation hub, presented the five challenges.

He  said the next step in developing the hub would be for the OVP and the PCNI to announce to people who have ideas on how to solve any of the challenges to come forward.

Kazouini said: “What we are going to do is for the people to come with their ideas to solve one of these challenges or two or whatever they have.”

According to him, 100 solution ideas would be collated within a one-month timeline that would analyze the challenges with a view to bringing solutions to each of them.

He said twenty ideas with the greatest impact would be selected from the 100 ideas earlier collated and made prototypes towards the solution of the challenges.

“If it is a machine, if it is an application, whatever it is, we will help him develop the idea and turn it into a stage that it can be applicable,” Kazouini said, adding that the twenty ideas would further be filtered into 10 which would be tested in the communities.

He said other processes would include the demo day, the incubation of the prototypes and probable investment for production.

Presentations were also made by officials from the Vice President’s Office, the PCNI, the Red Cross and the American University of Nigeria, AUN.

In his presentation, Special Assistant on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Office of the Vice-President, Ife Adebayo, said the idea of developing the humanitarian innovation hub was to find local solutions to local problems.

He explained that the innovation hubs would be private sector driven and run by hub management companies.

Adebayo said the vision and scope of the North East Humanitarian Hub would be modeled in line with the global humanitarian hub led by humanitarian actors, affected persons, businesses, public and private sector entrepreneurs.

“The idea is to bring together IDPs, humanitarian actors, public and private sectors   with the shared goal of scaling effective, efficient and ethical solutions to common humanitarian challenges,” Abebayo stated, pointing out that establishing the North East hub is for “innovative solutions to humanitarian and social problems thereby also creating jobs in the long run.”

Muhammadu Brimah of the PCNI also made a presentation on the Humanitarian Innovation Link to the Buhari Plan, the guiding document for all interventions in the region covering and harmonizing the activities of all stakeholders in humanitarian activities in Nigeria’s north east region.