The adoption of voucher systems (food and cash) as an effective strategy in the distribution of humanitarian assistance to extremely vulnerable HH in North East Nigeria

By Emmanuel Terhemba Amile

Director: Planning, Research and Evaluation

E- Tag Expert Resources Ltd


The Boko Haram Insurgency in North East has left thousands of HH in severe poverty as result of the total destruction of their houses, farms and other basic means of livelihood. In the last five 5 years’ food has remained the most critical needs for internally displaced persons in the north east. Women and Children remains the most extremely vulnerable groups due to lack of a social safety net. Since the return of normalcy in the region as a request of severe military engagement findings from Humanitarian Needs assessment has revealed the high demand for food and a basic means of livelihood.  Consequently, development assistance in form of emergency response and food security operations in the region has been carrying out different intervention to alleviate the suffering of the people with a key focus on food assistance and social safety net.


The final evaluation of the food security and Livelihood interventions in the NE, were carried using a mixed method evaluation (Quantitative and Qualitative) in Adamawa and Borno State in North East Nigeria with a sample size of 100.  Semi structured questionnaire were administered to beneficiaries using simple random sampling in the distribution of the sample size across states.  Meanwhile, convenience sampling was used for the selection of participants for the focused group discussion and the key informant interview.

Key findings

The evaluation of the effectiveness of of voucher system as a means of distribution of humanitarian assistance in the North East Nigeria was implemented using the OECD – DAC criteria. 90% of internally displaced persons living in the 2 states are aware of the use of vouchers in the distribution of food and non-food items aid agency in the last 2 years. in their community by different donor agencies in the last 2 years.  Additionally, quantitative and qualitative findings reveal that the voucher system was a very transparent and effective means of ensuring that Aid assistance get to the actual target groups in the right quantities as provided by the humanitarian agencies (64% in Adamawa and 34% in Gombe State, NE) as compared to direct distribution. However, the high level of illiteracy among beneficiaries of the interventions by Aid Agencies has proven to be a barrier on use of the voucher system as most of the extremely vulnerable receiving cash vouchers cannot read nor write, thus they have to depend on a third party to enable them get their voucher administered to them.


In view of all the above, voucher system has proven to be a very reliable and effective means of fostering accountability, transparency and effectiveness in the distribution of humanitarian assistance to IDP in the North East, Nigeria.

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