Humanitarian Country Team (HCT)

The Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) is the strategic and operational decision-making and oversight forum for humanitarian interventions in Nigeria established and led by the Humanitarian Coordinator. The composition of the HCT includes representatives from the UN, IOM, INGO Forum, the Red, National NGOs, Donors and Cross/Red Crescent Movement. As the centrepiece of the humanitarian coordination architecture in Nigeria, the HCT provides a platform for timely, effective and efficient decision making, thereby contributing to longer-term recovery while alleviating human suffering and protecting the lives, livelihoods and dignity of populations in need.

Operational Humanitarian Country Team (OHCT)

The Operational HCT was set up in 2016 to provide increased operational guidance and decision making in the complex humanitarian emergency of the North East. The Operational HCT meets bi-weekly and links the strategic decision making made at the Federal level with the operational decision making and delivery of humanitarian assistance to the affected population in the field. The OHCT, chaired by the Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator (DHC), and serves as an effective body for providing improved coordination and quality of the humanitarian response in the North-East.

Access Working Group (AWG)

Humanitarian access is important in ensuring timely delivery of assistance to populations in need, and also ensuring that affected populations’ have access to assistance and services.

As of three years ago, access to Maiduguri alone was a major challenge. Today there are thousands of national and international staff that, owing to significant security improvements, now reside and work in what is still regarded as a conflict zone. Despite improvements in 2017, humanitarian access to affected people by international actors such as UN agencies and NGOs remains constrained, especially in Borno State, where three local government areas (LGAs) remain hard to reach and 19 LGAs are only partially accessible. In addition there are bureaucratic constraints including visas and registration which make it difficult for humanitarian assistance to be provided to the people in need.

In the North East, it is also estimated that 930, 000 people remain inaccessible to humanitarian actors, and the AWG therefore serves as an advisory body to the strategic leadership of the humanitarian community in promoting access to the population in need; facilitating and enabling information collection and analysis; as well as aiding in the operationalization of plans to stabilise living conditions for millions of affected people. The Access Working group is jointly chaired by OCHA Access Advisor and INGO Forum.

Sector working groups in Nigeria

The Sector working groups (also known as Clusters) are groups of humanitarian organizations, both UN and non-UN, in each of the main sectors of humanitarian action, e.g. food, water, health and logistics. They are designated by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) and have clear responsibilities for coordination.

Each of the clusters serves the following functions:

  1. Supporting service delivery by providing a platform for agreement on approaches and elimination of duplication
  2. Informing strategic decision-making of the HC/HCT for the humanitarian response through coordination of needs assessment, gap analysis and prioritization
  3. Planning and strategy development including sectoral plans, adherence to standards and funding needs
  4. Advocacy to address identified concerns on behalf of cluster participants and the affected population
  5. Monitoring and reporting on the cluster strategy and results; recommending corrective action where necessary
  6. Contingency planning/preparedness/national capacity building where needed and where capacity exists within the cluster.

In the Humanitarian response in Nigeria, the sectors are led by a sector lead appointed by the leading agency in the sector and co-led by the government and International NGOs. This allows for sharing of relevant and timely information on the response capacity and gaps while contributing to the improvement in its overall quality.

For more information, visit here.

Humanitarian Communication Working Group (HCWG)

The HCWG strengthens information sharing on the humanitarian situation in North-east Nigeria, ensuring a common understanding of operational activities and challenges for humanitarian actors, donors and partners; highlighting overarching concerns relating to humanitarian response and providing common humanitarian messaging. The HCWG also supports and advises the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) on communication issues.


The HCWG is also the focal body for coordination of media visits, enhancing interaction with various media (international and local) in order to contribute to an informed and better nuanced analysis and reporting of humanitarian issues within to North-east Nigeria. To achieve its objectives, the HCWG undertakes collaborative communication actions and campaigns to enhance visibility of the UN/NGO humanitarian response in the North-east, and increase understanding of humanitarian principles and action in Nigeria through media.

Information Management Working Group (IMWG)

The Information Management Working Group serves as a resource unit for the harmonisation of quality data and information exchange for the humanitarian community. The unit ensures that up-to-date and relevant information on the efforts and progress of the humanitarian community is captured in a presentable format to support improved decision making in emergency preparedness and response.

The IMWG further facilitates collective humanitarian needs assessment (HNO), the development of humanitarian response plan (HRP) and supports the timely dissemination of relevant information to the humanitarian community and public at large.

The group is open and welcomes participants from organizations working on humanitarian issues, including the UN, international and national NGOs, and others. The IMWG meets monthly and it is hosted by OCHA.

For more information, visit here.

Inter-Sector Working Group (ISWG)

The ISWG is the technical arm supporting the Humanitarian Coordinator and the HCT in fulfilling their responsibilities as outlined in the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) guidelines. Guided by the HCT, inter-sector coordination provides a platform for sectors to work together to advance the delivery of assistance to affected people effectively and efficiently. It does this by encouraging synergies between sectors, ensuring roles and responsibilities are clearly defined, closing potential gaps and eliminating duplication.

Operational Inter-Sector Working Group (OISWG)

The ISWG is the operational arm supporting the Humanitarian Coordinator and the HCT in fulfilling their responsibilities as outlined in the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) guidelines. Guided by the HCT, inter-sector coordination provides a platform for sectors to work together to advance the delivery of assistance to affected people effectively and efficiently. It does this by encouraging synergies between sectors, ensuring roles and responsibilities are clearly defined, closing potential gaps and eliminating duplication.

Inter-Agency Taskforce

The Inter-Agency Task force is an ad-hoc high-level decision making body set up by the Borno State Government to address the issue of returns. Representatives on the taskforce from the humanitarian community include UNOCHA, UNICEF, UNHCR, IOM, WFP, DFID, INGO Forum, IRC, OXFAM and NRC; and Government representatives on the taskforce include Deputy Governor Borno State, Chairman of the Borno State Humanitarian Response Committee, North East Zonal Coordinator NEMA and the Chairman of SEMA.

The taskforce serves as a vehicle for ensuring timely action concerning informed voluntary and dignified returns, as well as preparation for population movements and population needs are harmonized with the Borno State government, including expansion of existing camps sites and identification of new sites to accommodate new arrivals, wet feeding of new arrivals and strong coordination with the Federal authorities and government of neighboring countries.

Humanitarian Hubs Task Force

Humanitarian hubs support inter-agency and multi-sectorial delivery of assistance in hard-to-reach conflict-affected areas by enabling humanitarian aid workers stay longer in deep field locations. Humanitarian hubs provide a common base of operations for humanitarian organisations present in selected areas with critical enablers, including security telecommunications systems (very high frequency systems – VHF – high frequency – HF – systems, and satellite phones) and internet connectivity, office space, accommodation, transportation and logistics support and storage space. Furthermore, the hubs provide a unified framework for coordinating the assistance in the critical sectors including CCCM, Nutrition, Health and Protection.

As frontline responders in the humanitarian response, INGOs presence and usage of humanitarian hubs alongside other actors helps ensure we are able to provide assistance to populations in need in a principled manner, and ensuring we are able to reach closer to people in more locations than we are able to. There are currently there were five humanitarian hubs established in Maiduguri, Gwoza, Bama, Ngala and Dikwa. Other locations for the construction of planned humanitarian hubs include Monguno, Rann, Banki and Damasak. The hubs taskforce, consisting of IOM, OCHA, INGO Forum and UNHCR ensures continuous oversight and management of hub operations in deep field locations.

UNHAS Steering Committee

The UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), whose fixed-wing flights and helicopter services have greatly facilitated the delivery of life-saving assistance to remote areas. Taking into consideration that 80 per cent of Borno State is considered high or very high risk for humanitarian actors, UNHAS has gained an ever important role in the transportation of aid workers and life-saving relief items. The INGO sits on the committee. Further scale-up is still urgently needed by the humanitarian community to deliver an effective, relevant, accountable and principled response, most notably regarding staff capacity and the deployment of senior staff at the LGA level. The vast majority of humanitarian staff currently working at the LGA level

Local Government Coordination Working Group (LGCWG)

The LCWG serves as the bridge between the national and local authorities, and humanitarian actors including the UN, international, and national NGOs. There are regular coordination meetings which ensure that information about the efforts and challenges of humanitarian operations at the local level are elevated in a timely fashion.

For more information, visit state-level coordination for Borno, Adamawa and Yobe


september, 2019

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