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How “Adashe” is transforming lives of IDPs in FCT

In Nigeria, there have been a large number of internally displaced people. Many of them rely exclusively on government and non-governmental organizations for survival.

However, as the economy becomes more unpredictable and government assistance becomes scarcer, it has become imperative that people seek other legitimate income streams.

Some women in WASSA IDP in the Federal Capital Territory have taken up the old practice of “contribution,” also known as “Adashe,” as a way to provide for their family in times of need, as it is practiced in many Nigerian societies, among both the educated and uneducated.

This strategy for earning passive income and, in many situations, acquiring money that do not need you to pay interest, do not constitute a loan, and provide you “enough time” to pay back what you owe also gives you enough time to do so.

This is what the women in the Wassa IDP camp have done to improve their financial situation.

13 years as IDPs

13 years down the line, the insurgency-ravaged north eastern region of Nigeria is still gripped by severe humanitarian catastrophe, involving mass displacements, maternal mortality, extreme poverty, and starvation.

According to UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths, 4.1 million people in northeast Nigeria are suffering from extreme food insecurity, with 588,000 experiencing emergency levels. According to him, the UN is afraid that “some people may have already reached the level of tragedy and are actually dying.”

Many people have tried to flee the fighting and have migrated to various parts of the country, including the FCT, with little or nothing and will have to start over.

According to Alhaji Abbas Idriss, Director General of the FCT Emergency Management Agency, Wassa Internally Displaced Persons Camp houses approximately 5,000 IDPs and is one of many in the FCT that provide refuge for displaced people fleeing Bama, Gwoza, and Damboa LGAs in Borno state, as well as IDPs from Michika and Mubi in Adamawa state.

Women and children suffered the most from the destruction brought on by the violent insurgency, therefore hunger and malnutrition were evident in the neighborhood.

However, 20 women were financially empowered by a Non-Governmental Organization called “Stand With a Girl Child Initiative,’ with each receiving N20,000 as a grant to develop their already existent petit trade.

Beneficiaries were picked because they had a verifiable trade, but instead of starting new businesses or expanding existing ones, they used the money for Adashe.

How Adashe works?

Adashe is a savings system in which all users agree to contribute the same amount while one person receives a lump sum monthly, weekly, or daily, and the process repeats until everyone in the scheme has collected the total amount saved.

Getting money in bulk is an advantage for people who intend to improve upon or start up a business, invest in a legitimate and profitable investment, or reach any financial goals.

There are no management fees or charges because it is not regulated.

The women of Adashe

Mrs. Hadiza Abubakar, a beneficiary who fled Michika said a N500 contribution allowed her to grow her trade. When it was her turn to benefit, she claimed to have received enough money to solve some of her immediate needs.

“I appreciate God for bringing this NGO, (Stand with a Girl Child initiative), for providing us with the grant to kickstart this contribution/Adashe and also expand our businesses. It has made a significant difference in my family’s lives. I save a little money and assist my husband with other household duties.”

Mrs. Abubakar said that the “Adashe” gave her the financial power to help her husband pay for their children’s education while still providing food for the family.

She added that the weekly contribution assisted her in purchasing a refrigerator to sell cold drinks and sachet water.

Hadiza Ibrahim, also known as Maman Khalifa, a resident of the camp and a contributor to the Adashe, noted that life was miserable for many households before the NGO’s intervention.

She explained that she was able to care for her family as well as diversify her fish business and venture into selling food commodities.

“I have saved enough money and upgraded from buying food commodities like beans, rice, and groundnuts, to selling when the prices are a bit higher in the market. It has been beneficial to me and my family.”

Margret Bolaji, the NGO’s founder, said the goal of the grant to the selected women was to improve their lives, but she was confident that the women’s choice for the weekly contribution demonstrates their financial management abilities and capacity to prepare for the future.

She expressed her excitement that the grant’s goal of strengthening families through women is generating great effects.

“We are not unmindful of the fact that the beneficiaries are using the little grant for Adashe or contribution, what we are after, is to put a smile in their faces and I am glad, they have even gone this far.”

The women said their resourcefulness and smart finance management should leave no doubt that if they are subjected to more funding, skill acquisition trainings, they will perform better.


Though not all camp residents could afford to start a business in order to qualify for the financing, they believe the process might have been more liberal in order to empower those who were most in need and provide them with an opportunity to do so.

Unlike regulated systems, Adashe carries the danger of financial loss when a contributor is unable to make a payment due to loss or even death. Because these agreements are typically made through word of mouth and are based on trust between parties, once your money is gone, you will not be able to file a complaint with any regulatory body.

As in the instance of Mrs. Abubakar, the cold water seller, who is unable to make a profit because her entire operation is dependent on the use of fuel-powered generators for electricity. because the camp is not powered by the national grid

She had enough money to buy a large refrigerator, but not enough to buy a generator to power it with electricity.

This implies that saving any money to continue the contribution or even develop the business may be tough.

This report was written by Hamza Alkali and made possible by Nigeria Health Watch and the Solutions Journalism Network as part of the Solutions Journalism Africa Initiative.