‘If we do not value our people, the world will not value us’
The African Philanthropy Forum’s Regional Meeting on amplifying humanitarian aid, highlights the dire conditions in the north-east and the urgent need for consolidated efforts among key stakeholders.
Discussing one of the most severe humanitarian crises in the world, the African Philanthropy Forum (APF) convened over 150 philanthropists and change makers in Abuja on Tuesday, June 25. The meeting discussed the 7.1 million Nigerians in need of humanitarian assistance and how participants can tackle the root causes of this crisis, alleviate human suffering and spur economic development.
The meeting kicked off on a high note with a welcome address delivered by Ndidi Nwuneli, Board Member, APF who challenged participants to give more strategically and in line with the needs of the affected. According to her, “Nigerians for Nigeria means Nigerians implementing and doing the work that the international organizations are currently doing.” Following the welcome address, Mosun Layode, Executive Director, APF spoke about the important role of philanthropists as catalysts for positive change and the APF platform which facilitates knowledge sharing and strategic collaboration across Africa.
Edem Wosornu, Head, UN OCHA set the context for the day by providing bounteous statistics on the humanitarian crisis landscape. According to Ms. Wosornu, 27,000 people have been killed in the BAY (Borno, Adamawa and Yobe) states and at least 8,000 boys and girls have been recruited and abducted by non-states armed groups since the crisis started in 2009. She added that although Nigeria continues to be the best funded humanitarian setting in Africa and 5th in the world, humanitarian needs in north east Nigeria are still very high. As a result of her presentation and the ensuing sessions, it was a consensus among participants that Nigerians need to take the lead in tackling the humanitarian crisis plaguing the north-east.
The event was graced by change makers and special guests from various works of life including H.E. Umar Kadafur Usman, Deputy Governor of Borno State. His commitment to a better life for those affected by the insurgency in the north east was made evident by his engagement with the African Philanthropy Forum and organizations present at the meeting. Aishah Ahmad, Deputy Governor, CBN, Mr. A.B Mahmood, President, Nigerian Bar Association and Pascal Grangereau, Country Director, French Development Agency also participated in the deliberations.
Speakers and participants at the event discussed the crisis extensively and the problems faced in administering aid effectively and adequately. Some of the speakers at the event included Zouera Youssoufou, CEO, Aliko Dangote Foundation, Dr. Ayoade Alakija, Chief Humanitarian Coordinator, Nigeria, Stephen M. Haykin, Mission Director, USAID, Nonny Ugboma, Executive Secretary/CEO of MTN Foundation and Ghada Hatim, Acting Director, Nigeria INGO Forum.
International and local organizations including ACT Foundation, Cuso International, I.C.R.C, Mainstream Foundation, Neem Foundation, T.Y. Danjuma Foundation, USADF, UN OCHA, U.N Women, W.H.O and Wellbeing Foundation were also represented at the event and shared best practices on building alliances across various sectors to tackle the crisis.
In closing, Gbenga Oyebode, Board Member, APF said that the humanitarian crisis in the north east is not a north east problem but a Nigerian problem. He highlighted the adverse effects of the crisis on the development of Nigeria as well as its ability to deter investment in the country. He called on participants to focus on finding and implementing lasting solutions to the crisis and giving more strategically toward the inclusive and sustainable development of Nigeria.
The event was made possible with the generous contributions of ACT Foundation, Ford Foundation and Mainstream Foundation.