Article written by Brian Oyewole, co-lead TF Nigeria
Since the opening of Techfugees in Nigeria in September 2019, our team has been working on needs’ assessment to frame our actions and develop an impactful roadmap for 2020.
A few weeks back, Lediju – also co-lead of Techfugees Nigeria – and myself went to Durumi Internally Displaced People Camp in Abuja, to exchange with the IDPs leaving there on what we could do together to foster access to employment and education.
Considering the high unemployment rates in Nigeria, it would take a miracle to get displaced people into gainful employment. We went there thinking of sustainable ways we could empower these people to be self-sufficient .
A young lady told me her story. Most of the forcibly displaced people in this particular camp are victims of the Boko-haram insurgency in North-east of Nigeria at its worst ever. Boko-haram terrorists invaded their villages, abducting women, girls and children from house to house while killing men on sight. I found that there are mostly women and children in the camp, only a few men were lucky to have made it out with their families, but even those who did also had to split at some point, for survival.
This set of forcibly displaced people have however been trained on some vocational skills by NGOs and some religious organizations like the UNHCR, Life Builders Initiative, Civic X etc. All these skills mostly get wasted for lack of funds and access to markets. Their best-selling product is the one they had been making before they got displaced, woven handmade threaded caps. Thanks to the visibility given by the Nigerian President, their cultural heritage is preserved and valuable. It takes a woman at least two weeks to finish one cap, 100% handmade.
Two weeks later, I visited another IDP Camp (Kuchingoro IDP Camp Abuja) with a Consultant for Deutche-Welle Akademie, Michelle Betz. Michelle was in Nigeria carrying out an ‘Information Needs Assessment of Forcibly Displaced People’. She reached out to see if some of our findings could help her work.
We heard another story about the struggle to give the children an education by another forcibly displaced person because of the fear of eventually losing them to insurgency and being victimised by it.
Following these discussions, we at Techfugees Nigeria have decided that an online marketplace that tells the stories of forcibly displaced people in Nigeria and markets their products would bring not only some excitement and hope to the camps’ residents but also financial revenues from their entrepreneurial craft work. We want to start with the two camps we have visited and expand operationally over time. We have identified individuals within these camps who are willing to get trained to be involved in the creation and updating of the website – this is important for transparency and it is the kind of empowerment that is feasibly sustainable.
Depending on how soon the World is able to get COVID-19 under control, we are going to have a Workshop in Abuja. We aim to reach out and connect with as many people as possible who can relate, and are willing to volunteer their skills or spaces towards the attainment of this goal. However, while we are waiting, we want to have an online workshop to discuss e-shop training programs & content, payment solutions, logistics and financial implications.This Workshop will be held at 10:30am WAT on Tuesday 21st April, 2020.
👉🏼 REGISTER HERE 👈🏼
We are also looking for support in forms of sponsorship for skill acquisition training programs, hosting for our workshops and financing the marketplace development.