In these photos from Nigeria we continue to find plastic bags. They are colorful and spacious, similar to those we use for shopping. In their inside we can find clothes, shoes and slippers, soaps, toothbrushes and toothpaste, mosqito nets and bed sheets. These are the items that make up the “children kit”: it’s a kit with basic necessities that we have distributed to desplaced children based in the districts of Potiskum, Damaturu, and Fika, in the state of Yobe, in the North East of Nigeria.
Since December 2015 we have been able to distribute these “children kits” to 950 evacuated children, thanks to a project financed by Unicef and the Japanese government. These children have escaped either alone or together with their families the war and violence of Boko Haram. The official data tells us that 60% of the 2 Million displaced Nigerians are children, and 20.000 of them are underage and unaccompanied, either orphaned during their escape, abandoned by their family, or recruited by armed forces of the terrorist group.
We have conducted training activities for local authorities and social operators, thereby instituting some committees of childhood protection in the housing communities. Thanks to the training, they have been able to acquire basic abilities necessary to idendify the cases of unaccompanied or separated children and of children associated to armed forces; to monitor their well-being and to recognize problematic and risk situations.
Because the humanitarian crisis in the North East of Nigeria shows no sign of an end, our commitment in this region does not terminate with the conclusion of this project. There continue to be 7 Million people who need immediate humanitary assistance. In this region, 50% of the population live below the poverty line and access to education is severely limited: 52% of children can’t go to school. UNICEF estimates that, without necessary caring, there will be 244.000 cases of severe and acute malnutrition among the children in the state of Borno, adjacent to the state of Yobe. The presence of Boko Haram is concentrated in these two states and in the state of Adamawa.