A group of individuals have come together to provide aid to displaced people in the Shuwari camp, Maiduguri, North East Nigeria after a HumAngle report detailed the level of starvation that had pervaded the camp and led the IDPs to begin to consume animal feed.
In December 2021, the Borno State Government declared that all Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps in the state would be closed down and their inhabitants relocated or resettled to their original communities. The move was aimed at reducing the dependence on humanitarian aid and promoting better living conditions, dignity, stability and resilience among IDPs, according to the government.
Many come back and resettle in unofficial camps, far from humanitarian aid and are tasked to eke out a living. HumAngle reports how IDPs in Shuwari camp are eating biri gamda [animal feed made out of dried food]. They buy the Biri gamda from vendors who get it at the cow market in the custom market in Maiduguri.
The feed is made by cutting into pieces and drying food remnants in the communities where they can afford food. It comes in different foods: rice, millet, maize, guinea corn, and wheat.
According to Fatima Mohammad Habib when she saw the HumAngle report she felt heartbroken and compelled to take action. “ I talked to my colleagues about the issue and we decided to do the small things we can. We started a crowdfunding campaign and raised the sum of 3.5 million naira. We targeted 500 beneficiaries for now and we will continue with a second batch of distribution subsequently.”
Fatima is the founder of Advocacy For Human Value Foundation. She has been advocating for human rights and supporting victims in Nigeria’s northeast for over a decade. “When I saw the report on what they eat, I felt as if I am the one eating it,” she said.
“Sometimes the biri gamda is not properly dried and this causes it to ferment, other times the food is rotten before it’s dried and is being dried in bad hygiene practices because they were meant for animal consumption. That makes people sick, especially the children,” she added.
She and the other two members who chose to remain anonymous took on the task of fund-raising. They created a social media campaign #FoodForJereIDP and people all over Nigeria donated.
“Generous donations flowed in, ranging from a hundred naira to several hundred thousand naira from individual contributors, we also got a donation for a bore well at Shuwari IDP camp,” Fatima added.
Distribution cards are shared with the beneficiaries to collect food rations at a designated store.
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