The 2019 Crossriver and Benue States refugees and host communities participatory assessment (PA) report (November – December 2019)

This report presents results of a Participatory Assessment (PA) which was conducted in November – December 2019 in Cross River and Benue States. UNHCR, government counterparts and partners working in Benue and Cross River refugee operation recognize the fact that the world is continuously changing, and to ensure relevance of Nigerian Federal Government, States,
LGAs and UNHCR interventions to improve lives of the refugee and host communities the PA was conducted with refugees and host community as part of the Comprehensive-Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) and Global Compact for Refugees (GCR) strategy of host community inclusion in programming. This assessment aimed at getting a better understanding of the current situation, protection risks, needs, capacities and vulnerabilities of refugees and host community in Cameroonian Refugee Situation in Nigeria by assessing Protection, Education, Health and Nutrition, Water and Sanitation, Shelter and Livelihood sectors. Secondary objectives included assessing the peaceful coexistence with host community considering that refugees are integrating in the host community and sharing the same limited resources, which makes peaceful coexistence paramount.
The joint assessment comprised of thematic teams of 60 staff representing OLGA, KLGA, SEMA,
NFRMI, UNHCR and partners who were trained by UNHCR Protection Unit to equip them with skills and knowledge to facilitate focus group discussions (FGDs) and record refugee and host community protection concerns, capacities, suggestions and proposed solutions.
Protection: Protection interventions are centred in reception and transit facilities, registration and documentation, access to justice, community-based protection (CBP), prevention and response to Child Protection (CP) and Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV), Education and providing appropriate solutions in form of livelihood. CARITAS and FJDP implement child protection and Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE). The reception centre accommodates new arrivals, UNHCR through FJDP and Rhema Care constructed temporary structures in 2018 – 2019 to accommodate refugees before they are relocated to the permanent shelters in various settlements namely; Adagom, Adagom 3, Ukende and Ikyogen. However, the shelters are in poor condition and almost not habitable especially during rainy season whereby the shelters leak.
There is inadequate support to PSNs (people living with disabilities (PLWD), elderly, chronically sick, UAM and UASC due to lack of comprehensive quality data and inadequate funding. National Population Commission (NPC) through CARITAS and FJDP has been providing birth certificates in Cross River and Benue states respectively. However, there is need to improve refugees’ knowledge and access to civil documentation to enhance certificate provision. CP / SGBV issues raised are majorly child trafficking, early marriage and transactional sex, and domestic violence.
Peaceful coexistence remains an important activity whereby government counterparts and UNHCR ensure improvement of social services such as education and health as well as inclusion of host community in livelihood projects. Furthermore, SEMA in partnership with UNHCR is raising awareness and solving conflict that arises, which has greatly enhanced good relationship between refugees and host community. UNHCR works with government counterparts and partners to enhance CBP among the refugee and host communities through empowering community-based structures and community-based organizations (CBO) to ensure refugees and host communities are at the centre of solutions.
Education: Education services for refugee children continue to be implemented by UNHCR’s partners that include CARITAS and FJDP in Cross River and Benue states. The services offered by the government schools include ECCE, pre-school, primary education and secondary education whereby UNHCR through partners has supported renovation and constriction of new class blocks, pays school fees and other requirements such as shoes and uniforms for refugee children. University Education is supported by the government of Nigeria and Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative (DAFI). However, there is great need to boost capacity of schools in relation to infrastructures, increasing number of trained teachers to ensure quality education and exploring possibilities of ensuring children with special needs education are prioritized to access their right to education.

Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees

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