An initial analysis by WFP, indicates that about 7 million people may become food insecure in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) states due to the potential impact of a COVID-19 on food security and livelihoods. This is almost double the 3.7 million people who were projected to be food insecure in the 2020 lean season according to the March 2020 Cadre Harmonisé (CH). However, the government-led CH Food Security Monitoring Taskforce is currently collecting data to support the review of the March 2020 CH Analysis in the BAY states.
As part of the Program Criticality Assessment (PCA) for the impact of COVID-19 on food and livelihoods security activities, the Food Security Sector (FSS) took part in identifying key life-saving services and Humanitarian Response Plan activities that could be adjusted in light of COVID-19. In addition to the PCA, during the multi-sectoral prioritization for the coming months the FSS included humanitarian support in anticipation of potential newly displacements as a result of floods or conflict, as well as any returns (IDPs and refugees).
As at the end of April, partners are targeting 290,000 households for support during the upcoming rainy season in the BAY states.
In April, around 1.7 million people have received food security assistance. Of these, 64 percent received food assistance and the remainder agriculture and livelihood assistance.
The FSS organized a training on CH Analysis Manual 2.0 for partners from 27 February to 1 March to build capacity on the application of Cadre Harmonise (CH) food security and nutrition analysis framework and strengthen participation of partners in the analysis process at both state and national levels.
The FSS set up three special COVID-19-related taskforces on 1) Food Assistance 2) Remote Price Monitoring and 3) Agricultural livelihoods. The FSS Food Assistance COVID-19 Taskforce developed guidance notes which included recommendations in line with precautions against COVID-19, including doubling rations during distributions for both in-kind and CVA and strongly advocated for humanitarian access during the lockdowns especially in Borno State. The FSS Remote Price Monitoring COVID-19 Taskforce took off in late April with weekly price monitoring as a preparedness to monitor prices of food and key multi sectoral non-food items during the lockdown. A recommendation from the FSS Agricultural Livelihoods COVID-19 taskforce includes temporarily stopping communal or Public Works Programme activities, however encouraging livelihoods activities at the household or individual level.
The two-day training on Integrating Child Protection (CP) and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Food Security and Livelihoods Programming took place on 18 and 19 March in Maiduguri, Borno State. A total of 40 humanitarian staff (19 women and 21 men) participated in the training, which was delivered in coordination with the GBV and Child Protection sub-sectors.
Partners supported the formation and training of 61 Group Savings and Loan Associations (GSLAs) in Bama LGA, Borno State comprising famer field school groups and beneficiaries of cash transfer.
Partners deployed five mobile threshing machines and hammer milling machine for grain processing in Jere, Kaga, Biu, Bama and Ngala LGAs (Borno State), to boost household incomes through agro processing enterprise, and providing a processing service to the communities.
In March and April, partners provided Safe Access to Fuel and Energy (SAFE) including stoves and more efficient cooking energy to 1,883 vulnerable households across in the BAY states. Post distribution monitoring will be conducted in subsequent months to assess the level of satisfaction and utilization of the new technology.
In March, partners trained 175 people (75 women and 100 men) on environment-friendly fish farming and processing techniques in Jere, Gwoza, Monguno and Ngala LGAs (Borno State). In April, beneficiaries of fish farming inputs, such as fish fingerlings, fish feed, and water harvesting equipment, began harvesting and selling fish in Monguno and Gwoza LGAs while partners are restocking fish tanks in Monguno and Dusman communities.
As part of preparedness for COVID-19, the Sector has continued to advocate for support to cover food gaps that may arise at isolation and quarantine centres in the BAY states, in the event of an outbreak.
The Country Cluster/Sector Performance Monitoring (CCPM) Survey was done during from 2 to 13 March 2020. A total of 30 responses (14 INGOs, 13 NNGOs, 1 UN, and 2 others) were received out of 68 active partners. The feedback was generally quite positive and satisfactory. However, there are still many areas that the FSS can improve for example improving analysis on gaps and integrating HIV/AIDs or disabilities into the food security response.
Joint advocacy efforts continue to call for humanitarian access during the COVID-19 lockdown and movement restrictions especially in Borno State which reduced access to beneficiaries.
Restrictions in inter-state movements coupled with strict lockdown measures especially in Borno State made it more difficult for partners to access people in need, as well as vendors, especially in the urban and peri-urban areas. Partners also faced challenges in pre-positioning food in the Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the deep field. Access to food was also made more difficult given price increases on food and agricultural inputs due to a both lockdown measures and restrictions in movements of traders.
The security situation, especially along the main supply routes and remote countryside areas, continues to pose major challenges to the implementation of ongoing deep field activities and has also led to limited accessibility or total inaccessibility of humanitarian actors to some LGAs in the north-east. The security situation has also continued to reduce access to farmland during the dry season.