From Crisis to Early Recovery: An iMMAP Trainee's Journey

How Usman Abdullahi turned very challenging circumstances amid the Boko Haram crisis in northeast Nigeria into an impactful and rewarding career with iMMAP

Usman Abdullahi, Information Management Officer, iMMAP Nigeria

When the northeast Nigeria crisis hit over ten years ago, Usman Abdullahi had a computer business center in Kano and he was teaching in a computer school. These were his sources of income at the time, and both of them were drastically affected by the violence and displacements that ensued. Furthermore, Usman’s community, Jere local government area of Borno state, was one of the most affected by the crisis.

Usman traveled to Uganda in 2012 where he earned a Bachelor of Computer Science and Information Technology degree from the Kampala University in 2015. In 2016, he had returned to Nigeria and became a volunteer for the World Food Program (WFP) Area Giwa Barack, Maiduguri, Borno State, in 2016. In 2017 he worked as a Senior Information Management Assistant at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Based on his skill set and area of knowledge, in January 2018 Usman was identified by iMMAP and his supervisors at UNHCR to participate in iMMAP’s first round of capacity building training in information management (IM) in the humanitarian context, in which he excelled.

The training I received from the organization reshaped my viewpoint of Information Management. My new skills transformed the quality and depth of my IM activities. One unique characteristic of iMMAP’s training that stayed with me, which I always strived to replicate in my subsequent capacity building activities, is the iMMAP team’s ability and willingness to delve deep into the heart of a subject matter and give great context for a richer understanding.

A year on from that training, Usman joined the iMMAP team in Nigeria as its first National Capacity Building Officer, and now he serves as iMMAP's information management officer seconded to support the Early Recovery & Livelihoods sector with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Since I participated in the iMMAP training, I have been keeping my knowledge fresh by practicing, learning new things from my colleagues, online training and teaching. I have found that teaching others is a great way of retaining and developing one’s knowledge.

Usman Abdullahi receives training from iMMAP

I and other iMMAP training participants have largely kept in contact with each other after the training through one-on-one contact and a WhatsApp group. We have a community of well-trained IMOs as a resource whenever needed. It is a welcomed benefit for a free 5-day IM course. I have also been opportune to meet a lot of them in their respective organization during my time conducting capacity building outreach when I was the National Capacity Building Officer.

With over 50 IM products developed by Usman since he participated in Round 1 training of January 2018, Usman has, in turn, helped many others to improve their IM skills. In his time as National Capacity Building Officer with iMMAP, Usman co-facilitated six capacity building rounds to train over 150 humanitarian actors. Even though he lived through and still deals with the trauma of the crisis, he is dedicated to using his skills to further the humanitarian response to crisis wherever it may occur in the world.

We have to prepare and empower affected people to be ready and able to restore their ways of life after this crisis. Otherwise, what is it all for?

Usman Abdullahi, Information Management Officer for iMMAP Nigeria, delivers training