Picking up the pieces: social capital and entrepreneurship for livelihood recovery among displaced populations in Northeast Nigeria




Journal Title

Journal ISSN



Volume Title


Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship



Peer reviewed



In the past few decades, there has been a significant increase in the rate of forced displacement, often precipitated by persecution, civil wars, terrorism, transborder conflicts, as well as natural disasters. The United Nations High Commission for Refugee (UNHCR) reports that there are 25.4 million refugees and 68.5 million forcibly displaced people, and only a small fraction are able to return to their former homes (UNHCR 2019). Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria has precipitated humanitarian tragedy on a scale comparable to the Nigerian civil war (1967-1970) and arguably the worst of any manmade or natural disaster in Nigeria's history. The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre estimates that up to 3.3 million people have been internally displaced due to terrorist violence perpetrated by the Boko Haram (International Displacement Monitoring Centre 2015). The number of people displaced by the conflict is the largest in Africa and the third largest in the world. Using quantitative and qualitative data obtained from questionnaires and interviews conducted with respondents in Northeast Nigeria, the study examines the extent to which the displaced populations are drawing on social capital and human capital to withstand, cope with and recover from the adverse experiences and consequences of the insurgency and counterinsurgency. Given that most forced displacements occur in developing countries like Nigeria, government resources are increasingly stretched to deal with the crisis, and there are calls for fundamental rethink of the traditional approach to interventions in disaster situations. In particular, scholars and practitioners are highlighting the need to shift from the current emphasis on technological solutions and financial input, to an approach that combines both technological solutions and social solutions, bringing people and communities to the forefront of interventions (Aldrich & Meyer 2014; Wind & Komproe 2012; Johnson et al. 2013). Forced migration is a social process in which human agency and social networks play a major part. These networks can be instrumental in the construction and (re)-construction of livelihood systems and communities shattered by insurgencies and protracted conflicts.


The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version.



Kolade, O., Kibreab, G., James, S. and Smith, R. (2019).Picking up the pieces: social capital and entrepreneurship for livelihood recovery among displaced populations in Northeast Nigeria. Institute for Small Business & Entrepreneurship Annual Conference 2019, Newcastle, England UK, 14-15 November 2019.


Research Institute

Centre for Enterprise and Innovation (CEI)