By Gabriel Ewepu and Alice Ekpang – Abuja
As negative impacts of insurgency persist, ActionAid Nigeria, weekend, called on humanitarian organizations to synergize for positive and lasting impact in the North East region as they render services to victims.
The call was made at a one-day Humanitarian Development Peace (HDP) Nexus High-Level Workshop held in Abuja.
The Manager, Humanitarian, and Resilience, Actionaid Nigeria, David Habba, pointed that humanitarian, development, and peace approach will ameliorate the plight of Internally Displaced Persons, IDP, and are interlinked, which should be treated as one whole.
Haba said: “We want the conversations around humanitarian development and peace to go side by side. One pillar cannot go ahead of another and there have to go together because you will agree with me that interlinked.
“Development issues can make humanitarian emergencies come, where there is feeling in development concerns humanitarian issues can emerge, and when humanitarian issues emerge it would lead into development. So there is an interlink and for us, that conversation needs to at begin to happen now.
“There has been some work that has been done by some other actors but what Actionaid Nigeria is doing with this meeting is trying to get the stakeholders to strengthen that discussion and begin to take steps.”
He also expressed optimism that the strategy hopes to achieve coordination, long-term sustainable development, and improve the lives of people who are affected by conflict.
“What we hope to achieve is the fact that we would have improved coordination, we have long-term sustainable development and improvements in the lives of people who are affected by conflict and the way we work we do our development work would prepare us in the event of humanitarian emergencies but also as we respond to the humanitarian emergencies in our country we would also translate and quickly move to development.
“Much more we will have an environment where peace will guarantee prosperity for the common man”, he said.
Speaking also was the National Conflict Analyst, Search For Common Ground, Chrisantus Lapang, who asserted that working in silos would create duplication of effort, wastage, and lack of accountability.
He also explained that the workshop was organized by Search For Common Ground, SFCG, in collaboration with Actionaid Nigeria including governments of Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe (BAY) States, and was aimed at bridging gap between humanitarian and developmental organizations, which he said currently work in silos.
He said: “The idea of the Humanitarian-Development-Peace, HDP, Nexus is to bridge the gap between people working in silos, where people are concentrating either on development or humanitarian actions for peacebuilding exclusive of the other.
“We want to bridge the gap that exists between working in silos, so if we say some people should continue working as development workers and others as humanitarian workers on separate strand it will enhance duplication of effort, wastage, and lack of accountability.
“We want to bridge the gap between humanitarian actions and developmental actions as well as bringing in the third pillar which is the peacebuilding strand of it so we need to be conflict-sensitive in either implementation of developmental activities or humanitarian activities.”
According to him this strategy pioneered by Search For Common Ground and Actionaid Nigeria at the grassroots level will ensure that their approach is really bottom-up which would be able to resonate from the bottom to the policy level.
“As a result of that, we are committed to championing consultations among the donor agencies and the international non-governmental organizations in Nigeria.
“We are committed to synergizing with the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and all relevant federal government agencies that have one thing or the other to do with this Nexus.
“We do not see the HDP Nexus just as something that would end with the North East, the HDP network a technical working group is focusing largely on the north-eastern States because of the Boko Haram issues most of these actors and donors that are supporting and sponsoring some of these activities in the northeast also have other projects taking place in other parts of the country.
“So we are committed to begin the conversation at all levels so that we have a national platform that would talk about HDP nexus and try to ensure that the HDP nexus resonate within every project that is implemented within the country”, he said.
He also added that “The international community is committed to working with the government leveraging on the new policy of the ministry of Humanitarian affairs that is saddled with the responsibility of taking reports from organizations that are working either in development or humanitarian sector.
“We need to strengthen their capacity in terms of reporting we need to establish a Monitoring and Evaluation platform for the HDP nexus so that we are able to track progress made around these new ways of working.”