How to Support Your Home Country in Africa: Nigeria

In our previous post in the blog series, we talked about how being a donor for nonprofit charities was the easiest way to get involved to support Africa as a whole. Next, we will look at several charities that have a big presence in Nigeria and focus on areas such as health, education, human rights and microenterprise development to help families escape poverty.

Civil conflicts, crisis and natural disasters, such as catastrophic flooding and droughts, can force people into new areas where there might be severe food shortages, lack of clean water and be overrun with disease that can be life threatening. This has a huge impact on young children who are extremely vulnerable to health issues. Fatal diseases end up claiming the lives of 1 out of every 10 children age 5 or younger. One of the biggest threats is cholera which is a bacterial disease that spreads from contaminated food or water. We will highlight a particular organization that has been tackling this problem for quite awhile now and have proven their success with several accomplishments.

This organization has global programs in 122 different countries – 21 of those countries located in Africa. In 2017, they helped over 24 million African children. In Nigeria, they have established therapeutic feeding centers and outreach centers that provide food for infants and young children suffering from malnutrition. They also have stabilization centers for children that have reached a very severe state of malnourishment that’s life threatening.

These help centers and food/water distribution to 4 northern Nigerian states have helped accomplish the following according to their website:

  • Protected 296,132 children from harm
  • Supported 186,315 children in times of crisis
  • rovided 5,471,422 children with a healthy start in life
  • Gave 5,266,326 children vital nourishment
  • Supported 296,394 parents to provide for their children’s basic needs

This Washington DC based organization has worked with local Nigerian communities to address issues with health, education, economic self-sufficiency and human rights. The ‘Surround-a-child’ sponsorship program uses a $12 monthly contribution to help a child attend school and stay healthy with nutritional support. Other programs help motivate children to stay in school and contribute to their village by volunteering, keeping them away from behaviors that could lead to a negative lifestyle. One interesting focus is helping families get out of poverty by teaching them skills to start and run a small business. There’s also plenty of support programs for Nigerians who immigrate to the U.S. Starting a new life can be overwhelming to the point that immigrants don’t know where to start. Luckily, Action Africa has plenty of programs that will prepare them for the many challenges and obstacles they will end up facing in the U.S.

Since 1988, this organization has grown into the largest shipper of donated text and library books to the entire African continent. After celebrating their recent 30 year anniversary, they also reached the milestone of shipping and distributing 42 millions books to African students of all ages. They also ship more modern items like computers and e-readers that are loaded with hundreds of thousands of digital books. A 2002 World Bank Report indicated the importance of books, “a good textbook is the most effective medium of instruction.” When every student was provided one textbook in a classroom, literacy scores increased 5-20%, according to a 2006 report by Michaelowa and Wechtler.

Impact of Organizations

The combination of these 3 organizations affect Nigeria in many different ways. Young children seem to be the biggest victims and they are impacted by many different programs and projects in specific Nigeria states. Save the Children are addressing some of the most serious health issues affecting children by providing vital nourishment and saving them from harm. However, other organizations handle the future for these young children. Books for Africa has been textbooks that have increased the literacy rate. When combined with Action Africa programs, children are motivated to stay in school, avoid bad behaviors and volunteer in their community. All of these should help influence them to have a bright future and pursue a higher education when they get older. When you step back and look at everything full circle, the full impact may not be seen until years from now. Saving lives and addressing severe health issues make the most immediate, short term impact while helping improve education and literacy has a much more long term, residual impact.

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