Resilience actions of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) living in camp-like settings: a Northern Nigeria case study

Winifred Ekezie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: There are about 55 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDP), and some live in camp settlements, often for protracted periods. However, there is limited evidence on camp management and self-management strategies adopted by camp-dwelling IDPs. This paper reflects on the camp management and health resilience strategies practised by IDPs settled in camp-like settings, based on the first strategic objective of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Progressive Resolution of Displacement Situations (PRDS). Methods: Eight focus group discussions were conducted with 49 IDP camp leaders across eight camp-like settings in Northern Nigeria. Issues explored included community structure, leadership, public interaction, communication, and health management. Data were analysed using a framework approach under five factors related to the IOM PRDS first objective. Findings: IDPs exhibited resilience by adapting to their current locations, establishing internal camp and health management structures, and advocating with external organisations. Supportive communal relationships were an integral element in their adaptation. Methods of resilience involved social cohesion, setting up camp leadership committees, and seeking alternative means of income, protection, and healthcare management. Additionally, selecting representatives who could advocate for their well-being allowed them to request support and exercise their rights. Conclusion: Despite resource shortages, the IDPs adapted by setting up techniques for managing their affairs and available resources, finding innovative ways to cater for themselves, advocating for their needs, and supporting each other. These observations showed how displaced populations can be active actors in their change and development if basic and essential management support is provided. Engaging IDPs in camp management could reduce long-term dependency on humanitarian aid.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100115
JournalJournal of Migration and Health
Early online date27 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2022


  • Camp management
  • Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)
  • Leadership
  • Nigeria
  • Resilience
  • Self-reliance


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