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Humanitarian Highlights – Nigeria

Humanitarian aid is essential around the world. Nigeria is one of the countries that has seen several humanitarian crises. Today, the people of Nigeria continue facing issues such as displacement, malnutrition and poor access to healthcare. As such, many humanitarian organizations are working to safeguard their human rights.

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Current Situation in Nigeria

Today, 8 million people in Nigeria require urgent humanitarian aid. As the most populous country in Africa, it is also one that has seen a lot of economic development. However, in 2013, the security situation in Nigeria deteriorated. Since then, many regions of the country have been affected.

In May 2013, a violent rebellion by the Islamist group Boko Haram took place in northeast Nigeria. Millions of people were forced to flee their homes. Today, 2.4 million are either internally displaced or are refugees in neighboring countries.

At the same time, the conflict destroyed over 40 percent of healthcare facilities in the region. As a result, millions of people have less access to healthcare, especially for those who have stayed behind. Also, people’s livelihoods have been affected, resulting in lower crop yields and fewer jobs for the locals.

Humanitarian Response in Nigeria

Humanitarian organizations are working across Nigeria to help those most vulnerable. However, four priority areas have the focus of many NGOs.

Firstly, organizations are ensuring food security. Today, 5.2 million people are severely food insecure. Therefore, food aid and livelihoods development are crucial. Also, 3.5 million people require nutrition assistance. As such, humanitarians are working on improving daily nutrition.

At the same time, many places are lacking water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). Nearly 2.9 million people in northeast Nigeria do not have access to safe drinking water. Their health is at dire risk. Coupled with low access to medical facilities, WASH is a priority area of humanitarian aid.

Besides health and nutrition, protection is another priority area for humanitarian response in Nigeria. Almost 5.8 million people need protection assistance, especially in northeast Nigeria. It is due to continued insecurities in the region.

Organizations and volunteers are doing everything they can to deliver aid. However, there are areas that are not reachable today due to ongoing hostilities and attacks on humanitarian convoys. The rainy season also complicates access, cutting off certain areas during several months each year.

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NGOs Working in Nigeria

There are dozens of international and grassroots NGOs working in Nigeria. International organizations are also taking part in delivering humanitarian aid across the country. Here are just a few examples of the incredible work humanitarians are doing.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF in French)

Despite insecurity, MSF is providing medical services and addressing malnutrition in the Borno State. They distribute food, nutritional products, and relief items. MSF also runs mass vaccination campaigns against measles and prevention campaigns against malaria. Further, the conduct medical consultations and WASH activities.

United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)

The violence displaced 2.4 million people in northeastern Nigeria. The UNHCR is working with local authorities to help those internally displaced and returning refugees. Their main actions include legal and psychosocial support, human rights promotion and protection, and advocacy for peace and security.


The Nigerian crisis has also affected the three neighboring countries in the Lake Chad region. As such, organizations like Caritas are deploying a multi-country response. They are working on civilian protection, support for land rights and livelihoods, peacebuilding and improvement of education and health services.


In response to the humanitarian crisis, Care has recently opened an emergency response office in Nigeria. They aim to reach 900,000 people through their response. Food and livelihoods assistance, services targeting sexual and reproductive health, and support for women affected by gender-based violence, included.


The primary objective of ACTED is to help those affected by conflict. They are providing emergency assistance including shelter, non-food aid items, and camp management for the internally displaced. Also, ACTED is supporting the humanitarian community through information management.

Working Group on Women, Peace, and Security

The Working Group on Women, Peace, and Security works with a range of partners to protect the human rights of women. The organization conducts situation assessments in Nigeria and provide recommendations to the UN Security Council, UN Leadership and Member State missions in New York.

Their primary goal is to advocate for women’s full and equal participation on peace and security around the world.

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