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 intense conflict. The Nigerian government declared a nutrition emergency in Borno in late June 2016. Due to the government's recent success reclaiming areas previously controlled by militant group Boko Haram—humanitarians are now getting limited access for the first time in nearly two years to parts of Borno State. An estimated 617,000 children in northeast Nigeria are suffering from acute malnutrition, including 250,000 children in Borno alone. Donate now >>
Photo: S. Crawford for Action Against Hunger, Nigeria
Photo: S. Crawford for Action Against Hunger, Nigeria
178.5 million
Human Development Index
152 (out of 188 countries ranked)
Our Team
85 employees
Program Start

People Helped in 2015: 2,158,164

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 2009, the conflict has caused the deaths of an estimated 20,000 people and has destroyed huge numbers of villages, health facilities, schools, and crops. Over 2.2 million Nigerians have been displaced by the fighting, and more than 7 million people in the northeast are currently in need of humanitarian assistance (data source: UN).

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 2015

In 2015, our programs improved nutrition security for 2,158,164 people.

Nutrition and Health : 1,068,206 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 : 184,756 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 : 120,267 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.”

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