Essential Needs and Nutrition Analysis - Northwest Nigeria (Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina) February 2021 Assessment Report


I. Background, Objectives and Methodology


Nigeria’s northwest region – particularly states of Zamfara, Sokoto, and Katsina – has in recent years seen a deterioration in the security situation, marked by an increase in banditry and violence such as extortion, kidnapping, indiscriminate killings and lootings. This surge in insecurity has not only killed thousands of people, but also induced widespread displacement – with nearly 280,000 IDPs tracked in the three states as of January 20211 . Disrupted livelihoods and hampered market access have further affected populations’ capacity to meet their essential needs.
The World Food Programme conducted an in-depth Essential Needs and Nutrition Assessment (ENNA) in February 2021 to fill information gaps on populations’ essential needs under multiple shocks in these states. The assessment was conducted in collaboration with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) through its National Programme for Food Security (NPFS), the National Population Commission (NPoPC), and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) and other partners.


The Essential Needs and Nutrition Assessment aims to generate baseline information on essential needs in these three states – with an in-depth focus on food security and nutrition for both internally displaced populations (IDPs) and the general population of the northwest through the following specific objectives:

  1. Provide a comparative analysis of demographic, geographic and socio-economic characteristics of food insecure households – including both general population and internally displaced;

  2. Provide baseline information on the food security and other vulnerability indicators related to unmet essential needs of the conflict-affected population in northwest Nigeria;

  3. Establish the nutrition situation for IDPs and determine factors influencing malnutrition;

  4. Analyse impact of COVID-19 pandemic on affected populations.


The survey collected quantitative data from altogether 4,077 households, distributed equally among the three states of Sokoto, Katsina and Zamfara. A total of 4,451 children from IDP households were screened for Middle Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC), out of which 1964 were measured for weight for height. From within the general population households, 2,465 children were screened for MUAC.
The survey design uses a two-stage stratified cluster sampling methodology for selection of households. The general population sample is stratified at senatorial zone level – using the recommended sample size of 300 households per strata for food security and essential needs – thus results for the general population are statistically representative at both state and senatorial zone levels2 .
The sampling strata for IDP households is at state level, with sample sizes for anthropometry computed using the Emergency Nutrition Assessment (ENA) for SMART applications. The upper confidence interval (CI) of Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) prevalence and precision level of GAM was used to estimate the sample size, using a design effect level of 1.5 in accordance with the SMART-ENA rule of thumb.


• In northwest Nigeria, 2.53 million are projected to be food insecure (Phase 3 and above) between the June – August 2021 period, according to the March 2021 Cadre Harmonise analysis. An estimated five percent of the total food insecure population (138,476 individuals) are internally displaced persons (IDPs), of which 26,000 are in emergency phase (CH phase 4). Zamfara North, Katsina Central and Katsina South are projected to be in Crisis phase between June and August 2021.

• Among surveyed IDPs, four out of five IDPs have inadequate food consumption as opposed to only 29 percent of the general population. However, Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rates for IDP children aged 6-59 months remain below the WHO critical emergency threshold of 15 percent.

• Conflict/insecurity, high food prices and abduction are listed as main shocks faced by both IDPs and general population in the northwest. Very high-resolution data imagery analysis has revealed that since 2017, conflict has caused widespread settlement damage and severe cropland loss in Sokoto North and Zamfara North. Number of violent events increased in Katsina state in 2020, as per data from ACLED. Katsina also has the highest proportion of IDPs who have been displaced for less than year.

• The use of coping strategies to meet food needs is prevalent in three-quarters of the population with similar patterns observed in both general population as well as IDPs. A third of the population has used crisis or emergency coping strategies in the past year.
Use of short-term debt to meet food needs is observed in 38 percent of all households, with similar patterns of prevalence observed between both IDP and general populations, and poor and non-poor households.

• IDP households have starkly high prevalence of both monetary and non-monetary multidimensional poverty compared to the general population. Eighty-eight percent of IDP households have monthly expenditures below the national poverty line, while 64 percent are multidimensionally poor.

• Compared to the general population, IDP households show multiple vulnerabilities. More than half the IDPs simultaneously have poor and borderline consumption, are multidimensionally poor, and have economic capacity below the poverty line.

• Sokoto state (in particular, senatorial zones Sokoto South and Sokoto North) have high prevalence of monetary poverty, identified by households’ expenditures being below poverty line. On the other hand, Zamfara state shows high prevalence of households with multidimensional (non-monetary) poverty.

• Income, money or resources are perceived as serious unmet needs for both IDPs and general population. For IDPs, this is followed by food (reported by 82 percent of IDPs), followed by shelter (68 percent), healthcare (62 percent), and water (44 percent). For the general population, healthcare is the second-most pressing unmet need (reported by 57 percent of the general population) followed by safety (52 percent).