The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is a government agency that provides aid and development assistance to countries around the world. In Nigeria, USAID has implemented several programs that aim to address key development challenges and promote inclusive economic growth, improve health and education outcomes and support democratic governance and civil society.
Power Africa: Expanding Electricity Access in Nigeria
USAID’s Power Africa program is focused on increasing access to electricity in Nigeria. The program works in collaboration with the government, private sector and civil society to accelerate the development of new power projects and improve the performance of existing ones. Through this program, USAID has helped introduce 3,043 megawatts of electricity production projects in Nigeria, bringing reliable power to more communities across the country.
Feed the Future: Reducing Poverty and Hunger in Nigeria
Another one of the USAID programs in Nigeria is Feed the Future, which aims to reduce poverty and hunger in the country. The program works with smallholder farmers and agribusinesses to increase productivity and access to markets, while also supporting the development of value chains for key commodities such as cassava, maize and rice. USAID’s efforts through Feed the Future have helped to increase agricultural production and incomes for thousands of farmers in Nigeria and have contributed to a reduction in malnutrition rates in targeted areas.
Feed the Future’s investments in 2019 led to the adoption of new farming technologies and improved management practices by 400,000 farmers, resulting in a significant increase in staple crop yields by 155% compared to 2018. Specifically, maize yields rose by 75% and rice yields increased by 37%. The program also resulted in greater participation of women and youth in agricultural markets and food systems, with 25% of participants being women and 28% being youth who received training and access to agricultural technology that led to increased crop yields.
Health Partnerships for Outcomes: Boosting Primary Health Care
USAID recently announced new partnerships in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and Nigeria to accelerate primary health care in these countries. The partnership will leverage these countries’ global health footprint, which USAID has supported with an average of $415 million per year. This will improve coordination, synchronize investment initiatives and showcase significant improvement in primary health care.
The goal is to boost life expectancy, increase health equity and respond to disease outbreaks and arising health threats head-on. This action comes on the heels of USAID’s recent launch of the Accelerating Primary Health Care Collaborative, which intends to establish a unified primary health care approach while enhancing the exchange of information, technical integration and coordination.
Education: Increasing Access to Quality Education in Nigeria
USAID’s Education program focuses on increasing access to and improving the quality of education in Nigeria, with a particular emphasis on basic education and literacy. To achieve this, USAID works with the government and civil society to increase enrolment and retention in schools, particularly for girls and children in conflict-affected areas, and to improve the skills and knowledge of teachers and other education personnel. USAID’s efforts through this program have helped increase the number of children attending school in Nigeria and have contributed to a rise in literacy rates and improved educational outcomes.
Approximately 10 million primary school-aged children in the country do not enroll in formal education, according to estimates. USAID has targeted this issue through its Addressing Education in the Northeast (AENN) program in Borno and Yobe states. The program has successfully reached more than 20,000 out-of-school children in both formal and informal settings in Northeast Nigeria.
Combating Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria: USAID’s MOMENTUM Program
“In Nigeria, one in three women and girls aged 15 to 24 have experienced gender-based violence,” which often comes from close friends and family. By disguising it as tradition, culture and religion, this type of violence is normalized. The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the situation.
USAID has partnered with the Nigerian government to launch a four-year program in Sokoto state which is in Northern Nigeria and Ebonyi state in the Southeast, to combat this near epidemic. A $5 million budget will help with the implementation of the MOMENTUM Country and Global Leadership in Nigeria (MCGL) program. It seeks to reduce maternal and child mortality by expanding access to high-quality health care. It also seeks to address the causes of child, early and forced marriage, as well as to prevent and lessen the impact of violence against women and girls.
These USAID programs in Nigeria are making a significant impact on the country’s development and the well-being of its citizens. The programs cover a range of areas, from expanding electricity access and reducing poverty and hunger to improving health care and education. Overall, USAID’s programs in Nigeria are helping drive progress and sustainable development in the country.
– Nkechi First