People Helped in 2018: 3,488,001
Nigeria is Africa’s wealthiest, most populous nation, and its fastest-growing economy. Despite this, more than half of the country lives below the poverty line, and northern Nigeria suffers the world’s third highest level of chronic undernutrition among children. This silent crisis is caused by lack of access to safe water and sanitation, rising food insecurity, the disruption of basic services due to conflict, and poor knowledge of healthy feeding practices for infants and young children.
Since 2012, Northeastern Nigeria has faced insecurity due to conflict with the Boko Haram insurgent group. As a result, 7.1 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, while 1.8 million people in the conflict-affected states are internally displaced. An estimated 823,000 people live in areas inaccessible to international humanitarian organisations.
More than one million children between the ages of six months and five years are acutely malnourished across the affected areas. One in five children with severe acute malnutrition and one in 15 children with moderate acute malnutrition are at risk of death if untreated.
Civilians have limited access to assistance, and food remains a major need in displacement settlements. Prolonged absence of food security, livelihoods, healthcare, education, clean water, and sanitation and hygiene facilities exacerbate risks. Protection concerns include arbitrary detention, forced conscription, domestic violence, forced and early marriages, trafficking, and sexual exploitation and abuse.
Action Against Hunger's Work in Nigeria
Action Against Hunger has been working in Nigeria since 2010. From 2014 to 2015, we doubled the volume of our operations in response to the crisis, meeting the humanitarian needs of 2.1 million people with health and nutrition programs; clean water and sanitation to reduce malnutrition and disease; emergency cash transfers to help displaced people purchase food or meet other urgent needs; and longer-term food security initiatives. In 2016, we scaled up our programs in Nigeria even further, yet again doubling the volume of our operations to meet rising needs, despite an extremely challenging environment.
Amid an increasingly intense conflict and new waves of displacements in the North East, Action Against Hunger has been the first responder in many areas affected by conflict, striving to employ a multi-sectoral approach and to connect with early recovery interventions where possible. In 2018, our food security programs have reached approximately one million people, increasing their social protection, providing food assistance through cash and vouchers, promoting income-generating activities, and cultivating vegetable gardens.
In Yobe, Borno, and Jigawa States, our nutrition and health services supported approximately 2.7 million people. We have treated severely malnourished children, and our mother-to-mother and father-to-father care groups have provided services, training, and support to displaced parents. We worked to ensure access to clean water, safe sanitation, and hygiene services for approximately 650,000 people. We do this by supporting latrine construction, drilling and rehabilitation of boreholes, and providing emergency water, sanitation, and hygiene services, including cholera prevention.
Ya Fati’s home and village were destroyed by the conflict in Northern Nigeria. Instead of food rations, she received monthly cash installments through Action Against Hunger’s emergency food assistance program. She used her cash to pay for shelter for her family, medicine, and food at the local market. “Before, I was dependent on my relatives. I can now feed my family,” she says. Ya Fati has even been able to save a little money from her monthly allocation, which she invested in two sheep, a source of future earnings: “I will try to also fatten my sheep so that I can make my own money.”