Conflict, high food prices, inflation, and major disruptions to livelihoods and farming due to fighting have left northeast Nigeria crippled by food insecurity. In Borno State in northeast Nigeria, communities have been totally cut off from humanitarian assistance due to conflict. The Nigerian government declared a nutrition emergency in Borno in late June 2016. Donate now >>
Photo: Guy Calaf for Action Against Hunger, Nigeria
Photo: Guy Calaf for Action Against Hunger, Nigeria
178.5 million
Human Development Index
152 (out of 188 countries ranked)
Our Team
344 employees
Program Start

People Helped in 2016: 3,195,504

People Received Nutritional Support 
People Accessed Safe Water and Sanitation 
People Gained Economic Self Sufficiency 

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. Communities in the northeast remain devastated by an ongoing violent armed conflict triggered by the opposition group Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati wal-Jihad, also known as Boko Haram. 

Since 2012, northeastern Nigeria has faced devastating insecurity due to conflict with the Boko Haram insurgent group. Displacing 2.4 million people and directly affecting more than 14 million people, this crisis was exacerbated by high malnutrition rates, food insecurity, poor water quality and access, and poor sanitation.

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 have 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.

Action Against Hunger has played a leading role in strengthening nutrition security in northern Nigeria over the last five years, and we further scaled up our operations in 2016 following the Borno state government’s declaration of a nutrition emergency. Adding to our extensive portfolio of long term development and humanitarian response programming, we opened a new office in Monguno to deliver immediate life-saving support. Working closely with partners, Action Against Hunger provided food to displaced people and host families, distributed much-needed sanitation and hygiene items, and organized blanket supplementary feeding programs for children under five and pregnant and lactating women. To address the current and projected issues families face in northeast Nigeria, we employed a multi-sectoral approach to meet the rapidly growing humanitarian needs while maintaining our commitment to improve nutrition security in the long term.

Action Against Hunger has been working in Nigeria since 2010. We currently have programs in Jigawa, Yobe, Borno, Kastina, Kebbi, Zamfara, and the capital city of Abuja.

What We Achieved in 2016

In 2016, our programs improved nutrition security for 3,195,504 people.

Nutrition, Health, and Care Practices :  2,475,605 people

  • Reaching at-risk mothers and children: In five states across Nigeria, we worked with partners to scale up nutrition services to reach the most vulnerable mothers and children with lifesaving treatment. By the end of 2015, in all five states, we succeeded in establishing services for community-based outpatient treatment of acute malnutrition that met internationally recognized standards for quality.
  • Providing education and safety nets. We provided pregnant women and mothers with young children with cash transfers meet their families’ urgent food needs, nutrition education to improve their knowledge of vital care and feeding practices for infants and young children.

Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene : 375,502 people

  • Rebuilding infrastructure: In Yobe and Borno, where entire communities have been destroyed by conflict, we built new water sources and latrines, and rebuilt water points that were in disrepair. We also provided displaced populations with showers and hygiene kits to ensure adequate sanitation.
  • Letting communities lead: In Yobe and Borno, we set up “Community Led” sanitation initiatives that put displaced people in charge of managing adequate sanitation conditions in their homes and shared public spaces.

Food Security and Livelihoods : 344,397 people

  • Meeting basic survival needs: We provided at-risk displaced families—and vulnerable households in host communities—with monthly cash transfers and electronic vouchers to allow them to purchase food in local markets or pay for other urgent household needs.
  • Providing mothers with support systems: Our “Porridge Moms” initiative in Borno established 60 mother-to-mother support groups, built community cooking stoves, and hosted cooking demonstrations to educate mothers about how to prepare nutritious foods. In Yobe and Borno, we helped displaced families earn income with micro-gardening and “micro-business” training.

Nigeria: Key Facts

Population: 178.5 million
GDP per capita: $5,423
Average life expectancy: 52.8 years
Undernutrition among children under five: 36.4%
Mortality  of children under 5 (# of deaths per 1,000 live births): 117.4
Ranking in 2015 UN Human Development Index: 152 (out of 188)
Ranking in 2015 Global Hunger Index:  92 (out of 104 countries ranked)

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.”

Help us save lives in Nigeria and around the world

Our Partners

  • Save the Children
  • MoH (Ministry of Health) of Nigeria