Protecting Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDPs) Through Empowerment Schemes

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are one of the many realities of conflicts in a state in contemporary times. Due to the abrupt nature of the displacing factors, IDPs often find themselves stripped of their economic and social security. Their basic rights and freedoms sometimes also have to be negotiated for these basic needs. The end result is that IDPs become exposed, pilloried, disadvantaged and vulnerable.

Empowerment becomes one of the few ways by which IDPs can be protected for some reasons. One, it help restores their dignity as humans because it enables them to meet their basic need. Being able to meet one’s basic need and probably the needs of others increases the sense of self-worth and renewed vision for life. IDPs need not depend on the state for ever. Even while in the IDPs camp, IDPs can be empowered. Secondly, empowering IDPs can reduce the propensity for crime. Criminal tendencies among the indolent can sometimes be very high. Positively engaging IDPs will enable make productive use of their time and minds. Again, the state stands to benefit in the long run because empowered IDPs contributes to national development by contributing to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

Empowerment can take any of these two forms (a) formal educational empowerment (FEE) and (b) informal educational empowerment (IEE). FEE entails exposing IDPs to basic educational training. This is particularly important for the younger ones because it develops the mind early and help them develop a critical thought pattern which enables them appreciate issues from multi-perspective. This obviously goes beyond reading and writing even though it is the basic. IEE on the other hand encompasses every known form of vocational exposure. This has both present and future advantage and is not restricted to any age bracket. IDPs can gainfully deploy skills learnt to harness present and future economic benefit starting right from when they are in the camp. It also has a multiplier benefit because skilled IDPs can be employed to train others.

As Nigeria’s anti-terrorism campaign in the North-east is gradually yielding positive result, the country should not only be looking rebuilding destroyed communities to also rebuilding lives that has been shattered as a result of the conflict. IDPs can be better protected if they are empowered.


  1. Nigeria should go beyond meeting the basic needs of IDPs to empowering them with entrepreneurial skill.
  2. The young ones should be exposed to formal educational training
  3. Those trained in craft should be provided with start-up capital
  4. Security should be provided in the various camps as this encourages them to concentrate in the training.
  5. Government should also encourage private participation in the training program. This should not be borne alone by the state.


  1. Kayode Olaitan, NEWS ANALYSIS: Empowering Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) via entrepreneurship, in NAN. Available at <> accessed on 21/02/2016
  2. See The Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement: General presentation. Available at <> accessed on the 21/02/2016
  3. Walter Kälin ,”Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement: Annotations (2000). Available at < > accessed on the 22/02/2106
  4. Norwegian Refugee Council, ‘Learning in displacement
  5. Briefing paper on the right to education of internally displaced people’ (2010). Available at < > accessed on the 25/02/2016

This note was contributed by Olusegun Adesanya. Assistant Research-Fellow, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) Lagos. Contact: