To support humanitarian actors’ operations in Northeast Nigeria, the Logistics Sector partners with eHealth Systems Africa to provide common storage warehouse space in Dikwa, Borno State. The common warehouse currently used by 12 humanitarian partners consists of dry storage space (using Mobile Storage Units – MSUs) and temperature-controlled storage space (15 – 25°C). All of the Logistics Sector’s activities in Nigeria are funded by the USAID Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) and the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).
Since its construction in January 2018, the Dikwa common warehouse facility has been operating on diesel generators as the sole source of power supply. Diesel generators impact the environment negatively and pose several operational challenges. They consume over 70 liters per week and must be procured from Maiduguri and transported for over 90 kilometers to Dikwa over difficult terrain. Diesel generators also create considerable heat, leading to undesired temperature spikes in the temperature-controlled room. Lastly, diesel generators are very noisy, and maintenance costs are high.
Transitioning to solar energy
The installation of the solar system infrastructure at the Dikwa storage facility allows for a reliable and cost-effective energy supply. After the installation of the solar panels, average diesel consumption has decreased to 20 liters per week. And yet, this level of diesel consumption is caused by an increased number of overcast days due to the ongoing rainy season and is likely to decrease over the next months. Maintenance costs are low, and the solar power infrastructure has led to an uninterrupted power supply in the temperature-controlled storage to ensure that humanitarian partners' consignments are stored at the required temperature until released. Finally, solar energy does not pollute and ensures green logistics operations in the areas in which the Logistics Sector is active.
Testimonies from the storage facility's users
The Logistics Sector’s partners are very grateful for the transition to solar energy. Franmi Babayo from Smiling Heart International said “what excites me most about the solar power system has been the 24/7 powering of the temperature control room which has given confidence to its users to store their items without the fear of damage caused by excessive heat”.
According to Chiroma Ibrahim, the Dikwa storage facility’s security supervisor “the transition to solar power has led to the removal of the generators and brought quietness to the warehouse, which is fundamental when it comes to discerning unusual noise in the proximity of the facility, given the different security concerns in the area”.
Since its inception in 2016, the Logistics Sector has been working to improve the overall logistics response through humanitarian coordination activities, sharing of information updates related to logistics challenges, and the facilitation of common logistics services. The Logistics Sector is mandated for operations in the states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, but most of the focus is on Borno where the operating environment remains extremely volatile, and the needs are severe. The provision of reliable and cost-effective warehouse storage space in Dikwa contributes to an improved response by the Logistics Sector and its partners.