Information and news about nigeria

Floating SchoolsFloating schools are exactly what their name suggests, they are schools floating on water, typically on a boat. They are essential to providing year-round education in regions where rainy seasons and flooding often disrupt the school year for the most vulnerable children. Floating schools have proved to be incredibly effective in providing an uninterrupted education in places like Bangladesh, Nigeria and Colombia where extreme weather often makes getting an education more difficult.

Bangladesh

Bangladesh is located in the massive delta created by the Ganges, the Meghna and the Brahmaputra Rivers meaning that the majority of the country is below sea level. The monsoon season, from June to October, can leave up to two-thirds of the country under water. Naturally, this extreme flooding makes it impossible for children to get to school for a significant part of the year which can be very harmful to a developing mind.

Enter the nonprofit Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha and its 23 floating schools. The floating schools usually take the form of large boats and use solar panels to provide electricity and power computers. These schools bring the classroom to Bangladeshi children when they cannot get to it themselves. In addition to the school boats, Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha operates a flotilla of boats acting as libraries, adult education centers and solar workshops. In 2012, the organization won the U.N. Prize for Inspiring Environmental Action.

Nigeria

The neighborhood of Makoko in Lagos, Nigeria spans across the Lagos lagoon making the region at perpetual risk of flooding and waterlogging. Around 250,000 people live in Makoko in crude housing that often deteriorates because of heavy rains. These conditions make it especially difficult to give children in this community a consistent education. The Nigerian architect, Kunlé Adeyemi, in collaboration with the Heinrich Böll Foundation and the United Nations, designed and built Makoko’s prototype floating school. The school was three stories, used plastic drums to stay afloat and housed around 100 students.

Unfortunately in 2016, after the school had been decommissioned, the structure collapsed during heavy rains after what Adeyemi described as “three years of intensive use and exceptional service to the community.” The Makoko community and the international community alike welcomed the school. In 2014, the floating school was shortlisted for the design of the year award and an improved version of the school is already in the design process to replace the collapsed one.

Colombia

In northern Colombia, in the town of Sempegua, the rainy season invariably brings flooding and disruption. Andres Uribe and Lina Catano, in partnership with the United Nations Development Fund and Colombia’s National Disaster Risk Management, constructed and inaugurated the first floating school in Latin America in 2014. The architects behind the project designed the school so that it could float during the rainy season and function on ground during the dry season, making it operative year-round. The schoolhouse can fit 60 children and around 400 underprivileged families will benefit from the floating structure. The school is also part of a loftier project that Uribe outlined, “and when we talk about floatable housing solutions, we are not just imagining schools, but houses, health centers, sports centers, or commercial zones, so the town can continue to be productive.”

These floating schools provide consistent access to education to children who otherwise would not be able to get to school on a regular basis, but also provide viable infrastructure solutions to places where persistent flooding has been disruptive for decades. Floating schools are just the beginning; the future leaders educated inside these schools are sure to continue developing the full potential of floating infrastructures for their communities.

– Isabel Fernandez

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Antenatal Care in NigeriaMany developing countries have reduced their maternal mortality rates by expanding maternal care through policy innovations. Between 1990 and 2015, maternal mortality has dropped by 44 percent. While this is a considerable amount, maternal mortality remains high in developing countries. For example, in Nigeria, only 61 percent of pregnant women visit a skilled antenatal care provider at least once during their pregnancy. The average rate for similar lower-to middle-income countries is 79 percent.

Maternal health concerns the health of women during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period. During this time, major causes of maternal mortality include hemorrhaging, infection, high blood pressure and obstructed labor.

Every day, 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and birth. In fact, 99 percent of maternal deaths occur in developing countries. It is necessary for policy innovation in developing countries because sustained use of maternal and antenatal care and increased rates of institutionalized delivery reduce maternal mortality.

Antenatal Care in Nigeria

Of the women who did access and antenatal care, 41 percent did not deliver in a health care facility. Nigeria ranks in the top 16 nations in maternal mortality: 576 deaths per 100,000 births. Containing only 2.45 percent of the world’s population, Nigeria contributes to 19 percent of maternal deaths globally.

There is a stark difference in the number of women who seek antenatal care in urban and rural areas: 75 percent versus 38 percent, respectively. Studies also show that more skilled professionals attended births in urban areas, revealing that 67 percent of women had a trained professional helping them. In rural areas, only 23 percent of women had the help of trained professionals. In these rural areas, only 8 percent of newborns receive postnatal care, whereas 25 percent of children do so in urban environment.

Due to the lack of health coverage and used resources, many of Nigeria’s infants die from preventable causes. Approximately:

  • 31 percent die from prematurity,
  • 30.9 percent die from birth asphyxia and trauma and
  • 16.2 percent die from sepsis.

Ways to Increase Access to Antenatal Care in Nigeria

Improving maternal and antenatal care in Nigeria can encourage women to utilize services such as improved facility infrastructure and amenities. Policy innovation in Nigeria can result in better equipment, more available drugs and an increase in overall comfort for the spaces.

In a study of antenatal patients in Nigeria, women responded positively to increased interpersonal interactions with providers. The study also suggested that improved maternal care should include access to providers who have technical performance skills and experience. Improved maternal care also includes access to providers who display empathy for their patients. Furthermore, policy innovation in Nigeria could improve increased access to facilities for those in rural areas.

Accessed to maternal and antenatal care in Nigeria can be improved with policy innovations made throughout the country. By making health facilities more accessible to more women and giving them the supplies and support they need, Nigeria will be able to decrease its maternal mortality rate and save its families from preventable complications of during pregnancy and infancy.

Michela Rahaim
Photo: Flickr

Tuberculosis in NigeriaTuberculosis is an infectious disease that attacks the lungs and destroys other organs in the body, causing coughing, weight loss, fever, night sweats and sometimes death. More than one-third of the world’s population is infected with bacteria that could cause tuberculosis, and between 5 and 10 percent of the people infected will become sick. Two million people die from tuberculosis every year.

Poverty and tuberculosis are connected, as many impoverished people live in unhygienic communities with little access to healthcare. Young children and people living with HIV are also at serious risk since tuberculosis is harder to diagnose in both groups. There are many people in danger from tuberculosis, particularly those living in developing countries where poverty and diseases are common. This article will discuss facts, causes and solutions to the problem of tuberculosis in Nigeria.

Tuberculosis in Nigeria

Nigeria is ranked seventh out of the 30 highest burden countries for tuberculosis and second in Africa. Around 470,000 people are diagnosed with tuberculosis in Nigeria every year, leading to more than 150,000 deaths from tuberculosis in 2017 alone.

One of the greatest risks to the Nigerian people is the co-infection of tuberculosis and HIV. It is 16- 27 times more likely that someone with HIV will develop tuberculosis in their lifetime than someone without HIV. In fact, 63,000 HIV positive people are diagnosed with tuberculosis every year in Nigeria and 39,000 HIV positive people die from tuberculosis every year in Nigeria. Nigeria has 3.2 million people currently living with HIV, which makes its population susceptible to tuberculosis.

Another reason that Nigeria has one of the highest levels of tuberculosis is the poverty rate. There are around 152 million people in Nigeria living below the poverty line. These people suffer from poor living conditions, where diseases can often roam free, and lack of healthcare and proper food or shelter. Tuberculosis can also carry a harmful stigma, so many people living in poor communities fail to seek treatment.

Bolatito Aiyenigba, deputy project director for malaria and tuberculosis on CCP’s USAID-funded Breakthrough ACTION, helped to lead a research team to discover the reasons that Nigeria has one of the highest rates of tuberculosis in the world. Aiyenigba said, “Stigma, discrimination and an overall lack of awareness of TB are providing to be major barriers to going to the facility for a TB test. We now have deeper insights into the ‘why’ behind this through patients’ stories.”

Misinformed beliefs cause people to refrain from getting help. For instance, many people in Nigeria believe that tuberculosis is caused by smoking, drinking or witchcraft, or even that it is hereditary, and then try to cure it by using burnt crabs, ashes or oil. Other people don’t believe that tuberculosis testing is free in public health facilities. Groups such as the Breakthrough ACTION project are working to raise awareness about tuberculosis, first by seeking out the problem and then providing a solution.

Solutions

What is happening to end tuberculosis in Nigeria? In the summer or 2018, minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewale held a symposium focused on “raising future leaders to end TB in Nigeria.” Adewale reminded everyone that the Federal Ministry of Health established the National TB and Leprosy Control Program in 1989 and that since then, Nigeria has been aligned with all World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations.

WHO launched its End TB Strategy in 2014. This strategy aims to eradicate tuberculosis globally as part of the Sustainable Developmental Goals. By 2030, countries that are part of the plan will reduce tuberculosis cases by 80 percent, tuberculosis deaths by 90 percent, and completely eliminate catastrophic costs to families suffering from tuberculosis. Nigeria implemented the WHO’s End TB Strategy in 2016.

Most of all, the Nigerian government is fighting to raise awareness of tuberculosis. With more funding for tuberculosis activities, a guarantee that treatment will be available to the public, and support for people who are already on treatment, Nigeria could take huge steps forward to end tuberculosis. The wife of Nasarawa State governor, Dr. Mairo Tanko Al-Makura, said it all: “We ask for your cooperation in fighting this disease to a stop.”

– Natalie Dell
Photo: Flickr

Child Sexual Abuse in NigeriaChild sexual abuse in Nigeria is rampant and as high as one in four girls and one in 10 boys. Cece Yara is an organization dedicated to preventing and ending the sexual abuse and exploitation of children. The words, Cece Yara, are from the Hausa language which means “save the child” and truly encompasses the mission of the foundation.

The Mission

The Cece Yara Foundation is an NGO with a mission to prevent the sexual abuse of children and provide emergency assistance and care. Bola Tinubu, a child activist and lawyer, founded the organization and she believes in protecting the safety of all children. The Foundation works in coordination with counselors, law enforcement and educators to ensure that every child lives with innocence and safety throughout their life.

Child sexual abuse is still a silent issue in Nigeria and there are many myths surrounding it. The Foundation also works to correct these myths and educate the public on how rampant the sexual abuse of children actually is. The organization believes that educating adults is the first step in preventing this abuse. Cece Yara ensures that every adult in a child’s life is aware of the signs of sexual abuse in a child and how to prevent it or even intervene.

Cece Yara also provides counseling services and a child forensic interview. The interview is a structured conversation between a counselor and a child to teach the child how to recount an incident of sexual abuse. Many children are afraid to come forward about abuse either because they are ashamed or confused. The forensic interview allows them to feel safe enough to get the help they desperately need.

Nigeria’s First Child Helpline

The Cece Yara Foundation has recently implemented the first child helpline in Nigeria. The helpline is available 24 hours a day and has professionals, trained on how to talk to children, answering the line. There are two lines; Cece Yara offers one free for children and the other paid for adults. This line serves to provide immediate help and assistance to a Nigerian child suffering from sexual abuse.

Child Abuse and Poverty

Children in developing nations are more vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation compared to those living in high-income countries due to the stress associated with poor living conditions. Alleviating poverty can have a significant impact on the rate of child abuse in an impoverished region.

The Cece Yara Foundation has been able to help 2,000 children in Nigeria since its launch in 2016. It has had a tremendous impact on the lives of Nigerian children who have suffered or are suffering from sexual abuse. The Cece Yara Foundation is fighting for a future that is safe for the children of Nigeria.

– Olivia Halliburton
Photo: Pixabay

Causes of Human Trafficking in Africa
A theft of human life and an exchange of money for someone’s dignity: this is what makes up the horrific crime of human trafficking.  Human trafficking is an ever-present issue across the globe, and the number of victims the number of victims rises each year. While there are countless contributing factors, the causes of human trafficking in Africa are particularly alarming.

Human trafficking is a prevalent issue in Africa, where law enforcement agencies often lack resources that are readily available in other countries. This results in police officers with less training and funding and makes it difficult for police to properly execute in cross-border intelligence causing a larger amount of human trafficking.

More than 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders annually and many victims of human trafficking migrants are from Somalia and Eritrea which means that international communication is crucial. One of the causes of human trafficking in Africa can be linked to law enforcement that lacks the training to cooperate with neighboring countries in order to prevent and interrupt this crime.

Human traffickers often seek the most vulnerable populations. In South Africa, an estimated 30,000 children are trafficked each year. Furthermore, in countries like Kenya, Zimbabwe and Ghana, girls as young as eight years old are sold as brides.

Immigrants that are attempting to reach Europe, the Middle East and Italy are often left vulnerable. In 2016, of 11,000 women arriving in Italy in search of a better life, 80 percent were from Nigeria, and many will likely be forced into prostitution and become sex trafficking victims.

However, there is also progress being made to combat this crime. Technology is quickly advancing and in Nigeria, it is being used to stop trafficking. In 2003, a Nigerian app called ‘iReport’ launched, allowing people to report human trafficking across the country. To date, iReport has secured 359 cases.

Kenya has also taken strides in efforts to resist and combat human trafficking. In 2014, Victim Protection Bill was passed, helping to provide support to victims and increasing convictions by building a stronger prosecution case. Since many victims are terrified of their attackers, this bill provides safety for those that want to prosecute or come forward.

While the causes of human trafficking in Africa are complex, there is clear progress being made to address them. Nations are constantly developing new solutions to combat human trafficking and support victims of these crimes.

– Emme Chadwick
Photo: Flickr

sustainable agriculture in Nigeria
The country of Nigeria is located on the Gulf of Guinea on the western side of Africa. Two major rivers run through the country. The Benue River is located on the east and it flows into the western river, the Niger River. With two large rivers flowing through their sub-Sharan climate, one might presume that agriculture would be a major source of income for the country. However, this is yet not the case.

Agriculture in Nigeria

Agriculture and, more recently, sustainable agriculture in Nigeria is an industry that employs most of the country’s population. The number of people employed in this sector is around 70 percent. However, it only makes up 22 percent of the nation’s GDP. This is indicated mostly through Nigeria’s unemployment rate that sits at 70 percent. Things may change soon. Various initiatives, speeches, articles and organizations in Nigeria all point to a bright future for sustainable agriculture in Nigeria and especially the future for the younger generations working for it.

Ade Adefeko’s Speech

In 2018, Ade Adefeko gave a speech to the Franco-Nigerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, an economic body set-up to aid business relations between ex-French colonies and France. Adefeko, who is currently Head of Corporate and Government Relations at OLAM Nigeria, outlined many important factors that hinder the growth of sustainable agriculture in Nigeria. He pointed especially to a lack of government funding. The funding has lowered down to just 1 percent of the total budget in 2018 from previously recorded 5 percent in 2008.

He also blames the lack of mechanization and techniques. Techniques are especially important for sustainable agriculture. Access to irrigation system is very hard for small farmers in Nigeria. This is rather odd having in mind that there is plenty of water from Nigeria’s rivers. To simplify his solution for the problem in two parts, Ade Adefeko would like to see a streamlined approach of land and water distribution from the government.

OLAM’s Role in Sustainable Agriculture in Nigeria

He would also like to see his employer OLAM, an international agricultural organization that supports sustainable agriculture in Nigeria and all around the globe, take even more active role in aiding Nigeria’s government and people. He would like to see OLAM continue to help the government store any excess crop yield. The other part of his suggestion is educating farmers so that they are more productive and can sell their crops more efficiently. Ade Adefeko and OLAM are not the only ones who see education of the population as the best way to understand the importance of sustainable agriculture in Nigeria and to provide solutions for this issue.

YISA and its Mission

The Youth Initiative for Sustainable Agriculture (YISA) Nigeria is taking a very active role in helping men, women, children and senior citizens to become better acquainted with sustainable agriculture. YISA’s mission is to take sustainable agriculture to the next step and to make it profitable. The organization’s goal is to make students of agriculture in Nigeria business savvy. They also want to rebrand agriculture and make it a popular and productive vocation. YISA runs five major programs that push this agenda in Nigeria. These programmes are designed to educate, corrects, encourage, inspire and motivate young people.

The push for sustainable Agriculture in Nigeria may eventually find itself at the precipice of an important decision. Should the people use the new found power for the country, keeping it home and small, or do they give it completely to large agriculture firms? Both of these choices have positives and negatives. The important thing is that sustainable agriculture in Nigeria can become so successful that it can make that choice for itself one day.

– Nicholas Anthony DeMarco
Photo: Flickr

Polio Eradication in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria - The Final Three
Poliomyelitis, often called polio or infantile paralysis is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus. It is a devastating disease that primarily impacts children and it can survive in the wild, but not for long without a human host. There is no cure, therefore, immunization is the foundation for eradication efforts. Today, polio is almost entirely eradicated from the planet.

Global immunization campaigns have made terrific progress in decreasing wild poliovirus (WPV) cases by over 99 percent in the past 30 years, down from an estimated 350,000 cases in 1988 to 29 reported cases in 2018. While more work needs to be done, the world is closing in on the virus and all eyes are on polio eradication in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria- the three final endemic countries. In the text below, the status of polio in these three countries is presented.

Polio Eradication in Afghanistan

Between the three countries listed above, in 2018 the most global polio cases were reported in Afghanistan. However, Afghanistan is the only endemic country not currently battling vaccine-derived polio, a form that can paralyze, in addition to WPV, which is a victory. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), in conjunction with Afghanistan’s Emergency Operation Centres, has dedicated continuing high-priority surveillance and instituted an aggressive immunization campaign to eradicate WPV in order to protect those most affected.

In November 2018, the country concluded an immunization campaign that targeted over five million children in the highest-risk provinces. These accomplishments are impressive, but at the same time fragile, because every single child must be vaccinated in this rapidly growing country. The Emergency Operation Centres are continuing to work under a National Emergency Action Plan and with local communities to ensure that all children are consistently reached now and in the future.

Polio Eradication in Pakistan

Polio could be eliminated from Pakistan this year, with continued strategic implementation. A vaccination campaign in December reached nearly 40 million children and the number of reported cases in the country is the lowest it has ever been. The race to the finish line requires continued focus on immunity gaps in high-risk and mobile communities, especially those that are close to the places where the virus is still indigenous, as well as continued accountability and high childhood vaccination rates.

Additionally, several of the endemic polio regions remain on the border with Afghanistan, which will require the two countries to continue addressing these WPV strongholds together. This region highlights the continued global threat of a virus that transcends geopolitical boundaries.

Polio Eradication in Nigeria

While WPV has never stopped circulating in Nigeria, there have not been any WPV cases since 2016. This is a terrific start towards wild polio eradication, but Nigeria has seen years without a WPV outbreak in the past only to see it return. The country is also managing continued vaccine-derived outbreaks. While immunization is paramount to eradication, some forms of the vaccine can infect patients and cause an outbreak. Though this adds a complex level to eradication strategies, immunization remains the most viable solution.

Currently, a variety of innovative solutions are underway to reach children in high-risk areas, including international immunization campaigns in the Lake Chad Basin whenever security permits, market vaccinations and seeking out nomadic communities. Similar to Afghanistan and Pakistan, continued efforts remain focused on closing immunity gaps, vaccinating all children and working with the country’s neighbors, but additional support for political and financial commitment is needed in Nigeria.

Going Forward

Wild polio eradication in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria is almost complete, but there are several challenges facing major vaccination efforts. In order to achieve elimination, every single child needs to be immunized. Even one unvaccinated child leaves the entire world at risk of infection.

There are, however, real challenges to this seemingly straightforward goal. Barriers like reaching children in mobile populations or in active conflict zones require international political coordination and more resources for mobile and stationary vaccination teams. Another major barrier is vaccine-derived polio cases, which threaten populations that don’t currently see polio in the wild. Research into the implications of adjusting the vaccine are underway and seek to address eliminating the spread of vaccine-derived infection.

It will not be possible to eradicate every disease with vaccination. Polio is one of the ones that can be. As global health efforts target polio eradication in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria, the world will likely be able to list polio next to smallpox and rinderpest on the coveted list of globally eradicated diseases.

– Sarah Fodero

Photo: Flickr

Conflict in Nigeria
Modern Nigeria arose in 1914  from two British Colonies, one predominantly Muslim and the other predominantly Christian. The difference in religion translated to different political beliefs, causing tension between the two populations. The resulting violence and constant tensions between different ethnic groups have caused disunity in Nigeria, making it vulnerable to the threat of different extremist groups, most infamous being Boko Haram.

Boko Haram Role in Conflict in Nigeria

Boko Haram, a major source of conflict in Nigeria, was first created in 2002, driven by existing beliefs that Islamic, Sharia law should be enforced. The group has used various tactics including suicide bombing, terrorizing public places, and kidnapping to push for their goal. The violence and fear they have spread have intensified the existing 53.5 percent poverty rate in Nigeria.

The crisis has displaced more than 2 million Nigerians and has left 228,000 refugees without a home. Nigerians facing conflict and displacement consequently have restricted access to food as there are 4.5 million people that are food insecure. Although the effects of conflict in Nigeria do depend on the area, with the North region of the country having generally more dramatic effects because of the presence of Boko Haram, the problems are present in the whole country. Blocked access to health care affects up to 11 percent of the population while restricted education affects up to 26 percent.

Health and Education Issues

As of 2017, Boko Haram destroyed 788 health facilities in Northeast Nigeria, leaving Borno state with 40 percent of its facilities lost. To make matters worse, 30 percent of Borno’s doctors have left the state in fear of the violence. Displacement brings health care concerns as well, with crowding increasing the risks of diseases in a country with a history of polio. The lack of health care facilities means that in the case of a disease outbreak, vaccines may not be fully distributed.

A similar situation exists for schools, with 57 percent in Borno not being in a condition to reopen, and 1,400 schools destroyed in this region. Children are also vulnerable to being used as suicide bombers, especially girls. The constant threat of violence, hunger and poverty prevents children from progressing and becoming educated, posing dangerous long-term effects for current and next generations.

Effects on Agriculture

The disunity and conflict spill over to the agricultural sector, sector that employs 70 percent of the total labor force. Pastoral farmers are moving south because of the threat of Boko Haram in the north, along with pressures of drought and limited space, create tension with existing sedentary farmers in the south. These often violent conflicts have killed 2,500 people in 2016 alone and have led to an annual loss of around $13.7 billion to the country.

It also forced the displacement of 62,000 people between 2015 and 2017, leaving them with restricted access to food and shelter and amplifying existing poverty in Nigeria. An end to these conflicts could potentially increase family income in the country up to almost 210 percent. With the majority of Nigerians depending on farming for their livelihood, it is evident that conflict Nigeria is worsening poverty.

The UNHCR in partnership with 70 organizations is working towards alleviating the effects of the conflict in Nigeria. They have offered child violence protection, gender-based violence protection, economic support and other services to around 180,000 people. With a focus on displaced people, the UNHCR has increased protection in displacement camps, making a safe place for those affected by the conflict.

Evidently, these conflicts are damaging the lives already impoverished people in the country, restricting their already limited access to food, education and health care services. Various organizations are fighting against these effects in order to hopefully improve the conditions of people affected by the conflict in Nigeria.

Massarath Fatima
Photo: Flickr

Reducing Poverty in Nigeria
Nigeria has recently overtaken India as the poverty capital of the world. Ranking lists like the Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index (CRI) and the Human Capital Index (HCI) place Nigeria at the bottom or very close to the bottom. The country has the highest number of people in extreme poverty in the world, at 86.9 million people.

However, this is not stopping Nigeria’s population from growing. According to the most recent estimates, Nigeria is predicted to become the third largest populated country in the world by 2050. The poverty rate is expected to increase exponentially if something does not change soon. Fortunately enough, the causes of Nigeria’s high poverty rate have been identified. If changed, the improvement in the following categories can bring hope for reducing poverty in Nigeria.

Improving Education

Data from October 2018, Nigeria has the greatest number of children that are out of school. The number increased from 10.5 million to 13.2 million. There was an attempt by the government to increase school attendance, but the children were forced to return to the streets because they could not survive while in school.

The high number of children out of school is accompanied by the high fertility rate in the country. In 2016, the birth rate was estimated to be around six children for each mother and usually, these mothers first started having children around the age of 18. Having so many children, it is hard to put them all in school because of the education costs. It is no surprise that many children go without education and many families prefer that they do things that can bring money to the family, or help gather food. To make things even worse, the children who go out in the streets to make a living are often exposed to sex trafficking, drug trafficking and other violent activities.

The Nigerian government is reluctant to start more education funding in the hope for reducing poverty in Nigeria. The big problem is that there is a lack of data that shows them what to do and how to fix the system. Punch Newspapers, a Nigerian newsletter, urges the wealthy in the country, and elsewhere, to help fund the program that will be focused on collecting data, program that will be jointly funded by different organizations and the government.

Cash Transfers’ Role in Reducing Poverty in Nigeria

The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) released a report in 2016 that showed that cash transfers, direct transfer payments of money to eligible people, can show direct growth in the economy, school attendance, health care and dietary diversity. The ODI determined that cash transfers, when invested correctly, can lead to an increased amount of income in the future. For example, if families invest money they receive from the government into agriculture, education, or beginning a new business, they would have the confidence to continue their prospects once the cash transfers end.

However, once the cash transfers end, the progress typically stops too. As Quartz Africa states, the cash transfers are great for temporary benefits and giving citizens hope, but with the loss of transfers from the government, some families revert to the way they were before. Therefore, this should be a good example for the government to see how important it is for their intervention.

Development of Agriculture

Nigeria faced an economic decline due to the decline in oil and natural gas prices, country’s main export products. However, due to the big dependence on oil and gas, agriculture growth in the country is out of great importance. The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is conducting research on how to renew agricultural success. In their report on growing the agricultural sector, CSIS claims that this is a very important sector to grow because of its potential to feed the country as well as provide jobs and stability to the extremely impoverished.

The agriculture sector already employs 70 percent of the country’s population, but by expanding it, the country can provide even more specialized jobs that will allow people to move through the job ladders. One of the main reasons this has not flourished as expected is because the farmers have a hard time accessing loans to get the right machines required to run a successful farm. The other issue stems from a lukewarm commitment from the government that also leads to a lack of research into the potential for agriculture. CSIS plans to put the work and money into Nigeria to help this sector growth.

Cash transfers feed into the ability to pursue education, which will further the growth of economy and society. Not only that, but the bigger step in cash transfers can be long-term loans to farmers so that the agricultural sector can further develop.

There are also other steps and means that can help bring Nigeria out of extreme poverty, but the development of agriculture and education with the help of the government seem to be three pillars of success. As long as people recognize the steps that need to be taken to improve the situation, hope for reducing poverty in Nigeria remains.

Miranda Garbaciak
Photo: Flickr

Cooling in Developing Countries
Cooling in developing countries is a major problem that affects health, disease treatments and hunger.

Many developing countries do not have access to electricity and consequently do not have proper cooling systems either.

Lack of cooling makes it difficult for fresh produce to last, leading to massive food waste. An average of 23 percent of food production in developing countries is lost because of poor refrigeration.

Cooling in India

In India, around 70 percent of people do not have refrigerators. With 43 percent of rural and 13 percent of urban households not receiving enough electricity to maintain a fridge, access to cooling for the public is limited.

This makes it difficult for people to store food for long periods of time and puts more strain on women, who traditionally have to cook for their families.

A lack of refrigeration is present in the food industry as well, where only 4 percent of produce is refrigerated during transport, causing losses of $4.5 billion each year.

This poses a huge risk to India’s growing food sector, especially as it moves towards perishables and limits India’s ability to accommodate its growing food demand.

Although the country has more arable farmland than most countries, India’s domestic production is expected to meet only 59 percent of its demand in 2030.

One of the reasons for this inefficiency is because farmers cannot store their food for long periods of time, leading to around 40 percent of agriculture production to go to waste. With many farmers being considered food insecure, poor access to cooling proves to be a major roadblock in reducing hunger.

The lack of cooling is also dangerous for vaccines since 20 percent of health care products and 25 percent of vaccines are damaged due to poor cooling systems in the country.

Although air conditioning ownership has gone up from 2 million in 2006 to 5 million households in 2011, that number still only represents around 3 percent of Indian households. Restricted energy access prevents many from being able to purchase air conditioners.

Still, the Indian cooling industry is expected to grow up to 25 percent each year, showing that progress is being made for cooling in developing countries.

The government is making changes and has taken an initiative through the National Cooling Action Plan.

A major focus of the 2018 plan is household air conditioners. As more and more people purchase them, energy efficiency and environmental consciousness have become increasingly important.

The action plan discusses ways to reduce the energy intake of air conditioners so that poorer families with lower access to energy can afford to maintain them. Another approach is cool roofs that encourage using certain materials to reduce the amount of heat that gets trapped inside a building.

With cool roofs being cheaper and advantageous for India’s rising temperatures, more cities are implementing them as a viable cooling method.

The Case of Nigeria

Nigeria similarly faces rising temperatures and low access to electricity, both which contribute to unsatisfied demand for cooling devices.

Over 50 million rural and 44 million urban Nigerians do not have adequate access to electricity and, consequently, refrigeration. Restricted cold food storage continues to the agriculture sector, where 36.7 percent of production goes to waste due to a lack of cooling.

With food and vaccines at risk of spoiling, Nigeria’s defense against hunger and disease is impaired. Nigeria’s history of disease outbreaks and high rates of poverty make this issue critical.

In response to these potential and immediate effects of the lack of cooling, the first National Food Safety Policy was adopted in 2013. One of its goals is to reduce food waste, which it addressed through improving cold chain efficiency.

Corresponding to the goals set in the policy, the Nigeria Expanded Trade and Transport Program (NEXTT) works towards economic development in Nigeria. In order to expand trade, NEXTT analyzes the inefficiencies in Nigeria’s existing cold chain.

Through projects like these, cooling in developing countries is making progress.

Cooling in Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, cooling is especially important for almost 50 percent of the population that are farmers. While many of them farm mainly for their own families, they do sell any surplus.

However, their sales are limited by how long their product lasts without a refrigerator, causing around 50 percent of production to spoil before being sold.

A Bangladeshi food company, Golden Harvest, dealt with this problem firsthand when most of the food they bought from farmers was spoiled. As a result, their own perishable products were unable to sell because of the unreliability of local farmers.

In response, they partnered with USAID to establish the first integrated cold chain system in Bangladesh. USAID helped to provide farmers with education related to maximizing their yields and gave technical assistance with Golden Harvest’s projects.

Golden Harvest has since invested in numerous refrigerated trucks, freezers and cold storage units. As the company grows, it continues to provide a foundation for the cold chain in Bangladesh.

Cooling in developing countries is no doubt urgent issue, especially with rising global temperatures.

Food insecurity, vaccine distribution and poverty are all exacerbated by poor cooling systems.

For many countries, access to refrigeration is vital to the advancement of their respective food industries, especially as the total population constantly increases in those countries.

Still, numerous projects are implemented towards improving the issue of low access to cooling in developing countries, showing hope that the situation will soon be resolved.

– Massarath Fatima
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