Essential Needs Analysis – Northeast Nigeria, October 2020

Originally published



This report is published by the World Food Programme, with support from the National Bureau of Statistics, National Population Commission, Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) and cooperating INGO partners.
This report examines the essential needs of populations affected by the complex emergency in northeast Nigeria and is intended to be used as a tool to identify targeting and assistance options for the most vulnerable populations in affected areas, at the LGA level.
Specifically, the October 2020 edition of the Essential Needs Assessment has the following objectives:

• Provide a comparative analysis of demographic, geographic and socio-economic characteristics of food insecure households, including unmet essential needs;

• Provide update on the food security and other vulnerability outcomes of the conflict affected population in northeast Nigeria;

• Analyse impact of COVID-19 pandemic on affected populations;

• Inform the October 2020 Cadre Harmonise (CH) analysis and humanitarian caseload planning.


1. Food Consumption has worsened compared to previous years, with poor and borderline food consumption nearly as high as the peak of the crisis

At forty-four percent, the proportion of poor and borderline food consumption marks a ten percentage point increase in severity compared to previous year and is the highest value since February 2017. The increase in poor and borderline food consumption also corresponds to the increase in food insecure population noted in the October 2020 round of Cadre Harmonise.
Use of consumption-based coping strategies have also increased compared to 2019, with households frequently using more severe consumption-adjusting behaviour. For example, 48 percent households indicated that adults or mothers reduced their own consumption so that children could eat, an eight percent increase compared to the previous year.

2. Most households do not have enough economic capacity to meet essential needs, with 60 percent the population being highly vulnerable

Overall, 57.4 percent of households have expenditures below the Minimum Expenditure Basket (MEB), i.e. they do not have sufficient economic capacity to meet their essential needs and are thus considered monetary poor. 42 percent of all households have expenditures below the survival minimum expenditure basket (SMEB) or the food-only MEB, suggesting household monthly budgets are not enough to meet even the most basic food needs.
Combining different indicators, 60 percent of the population is identified as highly vulnerable, based on the following characteristics – households with expenditures below the SMEB or poor consumption scores, or adopting emergency livelihood coping strategies.

3. Because households do not have enough economic capacity, debt and use of coping strategies has surged, with accessing food being the primary reason

Thirty-four percent of households have resorted to crisis or emergency coping strategies, and among these households, 80 percent of households adopted these strategies to meet food needs, followed by meeting health needs (15 percent), with the remaining five percent using coping strategies to meet shelter or education-related needs. Reducing expenses on health and education is most common used crisis copings strategy reported by 15 percent of households.
Use of emergency coping strategies surged to 27 percent in 2020 from 12 percent in 2019. Reducing expenses on agricultural inputs and tools is the most common emergency coping strategy, used by 15 percent of all surveyed households.
While the proportion of households incurring debt (44 percent of all households) and reasons for incurring debt have remain largely unchanged (70 percent of debt-incurring households mention accessing food as the main reason), the median debt amount has increased by 66 percent, from 6000 Nigerian naira (NGN) to 10,000 NGN.

4. Multidimensional poverty is just as prevalent as monetary poverty, and overlaps with monetary poverty & poor and borderline food consumption

56.5 percent of households are multidimensionally deprived: 32.8 percent are considered moderately deprived, and 23.7 percent are considered severely deprived. Multidimensional deprivation examines gaps in nonmonetary aspects of household-level poverty, based on deprivation in six essential needs dimensions: food, health, education, shelter, WASH and safety.
The three forms of vulnerability mostly do not occur individually. For 26 percent of all the respondents there is an overlap between an economic capacity below MEB, multidimensional poverty and poor and borderline food consumption score.

5. On top of food insecurity, access to income and health & safety issues are perceived as being more serious problems than before

Income, money or resources are perceived as being of most concern, by nearly 70 percent of all surveyed households. Compared to other sectoral needs, 2020 saw a sharp rise in households reporting serious unmet concerns related to health (47 percent of households in 2020 compared to 31 percent in 2019) and safety (25 percent of households in 2020, 16 percent in 2019).
Income needs are observed across the socio-economic spectrum and for all resident status. Unmet health needs are most likely to be reported by better-off households whereas unmet food and safety needs are most reported by the poorest households.

6. Lack of capital, rising prices and eroding purchasing power – already precarious but further exacerbated by COVID-19 – are main constraints to sustaining livelihoods

High food prices is the most significant and most commonly reported shock (80 percent of all households), followed by insecurity and conflict (36 percent), loss of employment and incomes (26 percent) and high transportation costs (25 percent).
Financial constraints – including lack of money or access to credit, as well as high costs of inputs are reported as major constraints by majority of households (67 percent) who are engaged in production activities including farming, livestock rearing and fishing.

7. 64 percent of people reported a negative income impact from COVID-19.

These include 33 percent who either saw complete loss of incomes or change in income source. These households are more likely to have poor food consumption or have used emergency coping strategies.

8. Returnees, IDPs in camps are most vulnerable

Forty-one percent of returnees and IDPs in camp simultaneously have economic capacity below MEB, poor and borderline food consumption and are multidimensionally poor.
Socioeconomic determinants of vulnerability include households with precarious income sources such as natural resources, petty trade, and daily wage labour; households where women are the sole earners or host IDPs, and households where heads are headed by women or have no education.