Learning Briefs | January 8, 2024
Drivers and Barriers to Household Resilience in Northern Nigeria
Led by the University of Notre Dame’s Integration Lab through partnership with Catholic Relief Services, this study explores both the long-term impacts of CRS’ Feed the Future (FTF) Nigeria Livelihoods project – completed five years earlier – and the current state of resilience in Northern Nigeria. The study deployed quantitative and qualitative resilience measurement approaches across six Northern Nigerian states between June-July of 2023. Data was collected through 1,160 household surveys, 24 focus group discussions, and 66 key informant interviews involving FTF beneficiaries, CRS staff, community leaders, partners, and community-specified resilient households.
The study revealed that FTF Nigeria Livelihoods had positive, sustainable outcomes for project beneficiaries even five years after project closure. Most FTF beneficiaries continue to practice at least one activity they learned during the project and share learned activities with others. Beneficiaries demonstrated higher household dietary diversity, a key indicator measured throughout the project’s lifespan, years later. Furthermore, it is evident that FTF Nigeria Livelihoods was integral in achieving these levels of household resilience, according to both subjective and objective measures.
Beneficiaries relied most on agriculture and income-generating activities to cope with shocks, though the shocks they experienced (floods and small-scale conflicts) were not those targeted in the program’s design. Still, those who diversified income streams (primarily reliant on farming) with other business activities achieved greater levels of resilience.
Finally, the synthesis of the quantitative and qualitative data gathered from Northern Nigeria suggests that highly contextualized and systems-strengthening interventions are best suited to building resilience. While limited in their participation, government-strengthening activities had the most significant positive effect on household resilience. To this end, participants prioritized interventions that increase the functioning of the system, namely peace and security, education, and infrastructure.