As 2016 ends, USAID has announced encouraging news in regards to their long-time relationship with the country of Nigeria. Going forward, USAID plans to add $92 million to their humanitarian assistance program for the country. This move is symbolic of the year the two partners have shared; one rich with progress in support of refugees displaced and suffering from the Boko Haram insurgency. Here are five more ways USAID helped Nigeria in 2016:
- In November 2016, USAID and Chi Farms, which invests in emerging Nigerian economies by making use of local resources, partnered to add roughly 4,000 tons of catfish to the country’s water bodies. Part of USAID’s Feed the Future initiative, the two will also train 6,000 farmers and entrepreneurs in order to establish a more stable backbone for Nigeria’s economy.
- One of the most effective ways USAID helped Nigeria in 2016 was through its humanitarian assistance to those affected by the Boko Haram insurgency near the Lake Chad Basin. As of August 2016, more than 2 million people were internally displaced due to the conflict. USAID provides stability for refugees by administering such simple things as electronic vouchers, which cover things like food and household supplies in local shops – not only does the family benefit, but so does the local business. By August 2016, USAID had given $98 million in humanitarian aid to this region of Nigeria.
- In June 2016, USAID donated 160 metric tons of seeds to 6,000 Nigerian households, which they now estimate effects the lives of 60,000 internal refugees. Food insecurity has proven an endemic problem since the beginning of the conflict with Boko Haram, and this ambitious initiative lends a great deal of stability to families throughout the country that are now in control of their food supply. The donation of seeds also includes food packets to help sustain families as they await the harvest.
- USAID deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) in November 2016 to confront increasingly dire food insecurity in areas affected by the conflict. A study conducted by the organization in October estimated that 20 to 50 percent of children in the past six months suffered from acute malnourishment. The humanitarian crisis currently puts 9.2 million in need of help, and the arrival of DART means assistance can spread to more people, and more quickly.
- Assisting with food security wasn’t the only way USAID helped Nigeria in 2016 – they also trained personnel to staff 44 private hospitals for family planning counseling and implementation. As part of their USAID SHOPS project (Strengthening Health Outcomes for the Private Sector), the organization worked to increase quality and accessible family planning services throughout Nigeria. Completed in 2016, the project ran for five years and reached six states, and also trained 115 pharmacists to provide counseling to families. As a result, local healthcare facilities are reporting an increase in the use of effective contraception.
Since 2015, the U.S. has been the largest donor to Nigeria, giving $291 million in the 2016 fiscal year toward humanitarian aid. With the incredible news of their upcoming $92 million increase, USAID has extended help to tens of thousands more people and strengthened a partnership that will continue to improve the lives of millions of Nigerians.
– Emily Marshall