Throughout December, COVID-19-related restrictions on the movement of humanitarians have required staff from the Emergency Telecommunications sector (ETS) to work from home in order to curb the spread of the virus in north-east Nigeria. While most ETS staff worked remotely, three staff worked in the office at the Red Roof humanitarian hub in Maiduguri on a needs-based schedule.
The ETS team continues to provide vital communications services to the humanitarian community across north-east Nigeria, including internet connectivity in eight humanitarian hubs and security communications in 10 operational areas. Throughout 2020, the ETS provided internet connectivity services to more than 4,559 users from 115 organizations (15 United Nations agencies and 100 NGOs.
In December, the ETS programmed seven radios to enable humanitarians to improve communication between staff and to ensure their safety and security in the region. The ETS helpdesk received and resolved 67 information and communications technology (ICT)-related issues reported by its users through email and phone. The team also conducted remote capacity building activities by delivering a training session on basic security telecommunications for eight participants from Christian Aid INGO in Monguno. The ETS team embarked on missions to deep field locations – Damasak and Ngala – to resolve technical issues that require the physical presence of ETS technicians. The ETS also commenced the installation of the solar-powered hybrid system to support its connectivity equipment. The contractors have completed the installation in three out of eight sites: Dikwa, Ngala and Gwoza. Installation activities at the other ETS sites will continue in January 2021.
The ETS also concluded an analysis of the annual ETS user satisfaction survey and shared the report with humanitarians in north-east Nigeria and with ETS partners. The 2020 ETS user satisfaction survey report showed an overall user satisfaction rate of 96% for the core ETS services provided in the country, including internet connectivity, security telecommunications, telephone and customer support.
Due to the COVID-19-related restrictions, the ETS has had to postpone several of its planned activities. However, as travel restrictions have eased, the team commenced the installation the hybrid solar power system in field locations in December.