Thriving in the face of adversity

Angwan Sarki is one of the Villages in Kajuru Local Government Area, Kaduna State that was attacked consistently in April 2022. During the attacks, about 140 houses were burnt and on the 9th day, everyone fled the village.

Tabitha is a mother of 4 and a survivor of the attacks in Angwan Sarki. Her family’s major source of income, the farmland was destroyed, their animals killed and looted, and her grinding machine which serves as her source of income was also destroyed. They are sometimes sheltered by friends and at other times, they rent a room for N1,500 a month. Having to forcefully leave her home to safety caused her two Children to drop out of school.

In tears, Tabitha said, “Sincerely, you cannot compare your own house to another person’s own”. Tabitha is one of the 3,000 beneficiaries of ActionAid intervention across 61 communities, funded by STARTFUND. She intends to get back to her groundnut business, in addition to beans processing for moimoi so that she can cater to her family and afford a comfortable home of her own.

In January 2022, Rejoice Musa a mother of 5, and other residents of Angwan Dutse in Kajuru LGA were forced out of their village by bandits who had previously attacked their community on four different occasions. Some persons were held hostage, houses, farms, and livelihood equipment were burnt and others were sent out of the village.

Before the attack, 2 of her children were in school but not anymore as she cannot afford the expenses while displaced. Faced with accommodation challenges and the responsibility of taking care of her family, Rejoice undertakes menial labour on farms to earn an income and was able to save from her wages to start a business in frying Akara (Bean Cake).

ActionAid Nigeria remains committed to supporting women and girls who often bear the direct brunt when disaster strikes.

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Mary Adams, not real name) could barely survive the poverty in her household. Mary and her 6 siblings had no fun childhood; they only bore the wrenching memories of poverty and lack of everything. Mary tells how eating one tasteless meal per day was a luxury.

At 15, she became a child labourer; doing menial jobs from house to house in her neighbourhood: “I was tired of watching my parents fight, so I will go to my neighbours and ask them what I can do for them to earn money so that I can pay for my school fees and buy my books.

I washed their plates, fetched water, and washed clothes every morning before going to school” Mary said when her early morning regular chores could not sustain her and her siblings, she took to a sales job at a bar.

“When I was working in a bar; I met a woman who told me she will help me, so she took me from Benue to Nassarawa State. She promised that I would have better opportunities and be able to help my family. I was happy”.

Her happiness was short-lived when she realised that the good life promised was a mirage; she was later sexually exploited by the same woman who promised her help.

At 16, she became ‘imprisoned’ by her host, who verbally, physically, and sexually abused her. “I became her prisoner, I was used as a sexual slave, sleeping with different men and the woman collects all the money”. Mary muttered, constantly wiping the tears which freely flowed down her sun-beat cheeks.

Mary hatched a plan to escape from her captor: “I told her I had to go and visit my sick mother and that I would return after a while. I was released to go. I never returned” After one year away, she returned to complete her National Diploma and relocated to Auchi.

“When I got to Auchi, I did many things to survive but I was lucky one day when I met a woman from Kairos (ActionAid’s Partner in Auchi, Edo State), they were doing sensitization and they told us about the dangers of irregular migration, which was what I was already planning to do but after that sensitization, I changed my mind, we were given a form to fill and apply for training.

The training really changed me and made me become confident, it improved the way I interact with people and the transport money that they gave us was useful, I saved the transport money and trekked every day, so I can use the money to obtain my National Diploma Certificate, which I couldn’t receive since graduating in 2018” she said.

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Entering The Restricted Space: First Woman In The Kaltungo Leadership Council

Kaltungo Chiefdom is one of the communities in Gombe state where the right of women and girls were not recognized. Issues such as rape, battery, denial of inheritance, male child preference, denial of educational opportunities, women exclusion in decision making at family and community levels, and harmful widowhood practices were prevalent.

ActionAid Nigeria and her partner, Kningtingale Women Health Initiative (KWHI) implemented strategic activities to bring an end to these right abuse through the SLOC-VAWG project in Kaltungo community.

At the heart of these interventions were intensive and rigorous engagements, training and sensitisation with women, men, children, religious and traditional leaders. Proudly, the Village Council has appointed the first female into the Council, the highest decision-making body in the chiefdom.

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‘‘The flood in Kainawa community started as a result of an over-flowed river close to the community and my parents, siblings and I had to evacuate to a high land for safety.

My father later returned to their flooded house with the aim of getting some clothing and other necessary items that could be needed during in our new location but sadly, the house collapsed while he was inside.

It was after some hours that we didn’t see him return that we raised an alarm. Sadly, they found him buried under the rubble, and brought him out but he died while we were on our way to the hospital.

My mother is still distraught, we have lost our farm and all our belongings. As the eldest child, I now have the responsibility to taking care of my sick mother.

With the money and other items we were provided with by ActionAid, I will be able to fund my mother’s medication, provide food for my siblings and cultivate my father’s land when the water dries up” 20-yr-old Katimi, at Kainawa community, Miga LGA, Jigawa

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The Narrow Escape

‘’I was 8 months pregnant when the community started getting flooded. We had nowhere to go so we stayed. The flood eventually got very heavy, and it brought down our house. I realized I couldn’t find my son after the house collapsed, only to hear his groans from under the rubble of a collapsed wall. I tried to save him, but my strength failed me. I eventually called for help, and he was rescued after about 2 hours.

I cried because I thought that my son was dead. He was rescued by a youth who could swim. They broke the bricks into pieces to bring out my son. My three-year-old son had gulped in a large quantity of water and community members quickly took him to the house of a community nurse for medical attention because the flood had submerged our community hospital.

When words came back to me that he was alive, I cried even more.

My husband is a Farmer but the flood has submerged his farm too. We no longer have a sustainable source of livelihood. Although, we have temporarily moved to a community that is on a highland and I hope the floods rescind quickly for us to start rebuilding our lives. My husband goes to town daily to do menial jobs so that we can eat. The cash for food from ActionAid will help us for the next three to four weeks.’’ Hasiba, Duiwigi Community, Gwiwa LGA, Jigawa State.

She is one of the 1200 women provided with emergency response kits and cash for food in Jigawa amidst the 2022 flood.

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Mobilising Actions Towards the Abolition of Infanticide (MATAI)

How the journey began

In 2019, ActionAid Nigeria began implementing the MATAI project across 57 communities in AMAC, Abaji, Kuje, Kwali, and Gwagwalada Area Councils of Nigeria’s federal capital. These communities believe that twins and other multiple-birth babies, children born after twins or those with albinism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, abnormal teeth growth (upper teeth first) birth defects, and babies whose mothers die while nursing them are considered to be evil and must be killed – this belief is gradually changing.


In the last 26 years, Vine Heritage Home (VHH), Kuje, situated within the house of its founders, Pst Steven and Chinwe Olusola, has been a haven for these children. ‘‘We started in our own house with a twin, then another twin and the numbers continued to grow. With the continued increase, it became imperative to expand our home, so more buildings were added to the existing one, yet it wasn’t enough as the children grew to 158.’’ Pastor Olusola Steven said.


Raising Funds for MATAI

With the four hundred and ninety-five thousand euros funding secured from the European Union and a co-funding of fifty-five thousand euros by ActionAid Nigeria, the race to raise more funds to support VHH began.


‘‘The children’s stories and the quest to help them live a life of dignity were our motivation every time we had to pitch to organisations or individuals for donation. At the onset, Community Sponsorship also donated two million naira but more needed to be done. There was a whole list of things we were grappling with, such as the purchase of a permanent site and the construction of their new home and a nursery, nutritional support, and most importantly, abolishing the practice in the communities, amongst others.’’ Thelma Thani, Resource Mobilisation Coordinator.


Challenges and Successes

‘’COVID-19 was one of the challenges that hit differently. All activities were halted. We couldn’t continue with the sensitisation in practicing communities, our goal of completing the construction of the permanent site on time was also halted, the initial cost of things planned sky-rocketed, the focus of donors shifted to the pandemic, and our support for the home also drifted towards safety and survival amidst the pandemic.’’ Tommy Ubong, MATAI Project Coordinator hinted.


Despite the setback, in January 2021, the parents of a set of triplets rescued by the VHH four years earlier came back for their children with the community representative. The parents are now committed to protecting their children and are being monitored by the National Human Rights Commission. In addition, twenty community advocates against infanticide who go around the practicing communities were trained on child’s rights and advocacy. Fifty-seven traditional birth attendants were also trained in providing better services using approved manuals from the National Primary Health Care Development Agency and community health influencers, promoters, and services.



Where are we?

In May 2022, the construction of the new permanent site comprising gender-sensitive dormitories, a nursery, a hall, and a clinic was completed and handed over to Vine Heritage Home on 2022 children’s day by the Head of EU delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Amb. Samuela Isopi.


What next?

Mobilising Action Towards the Abolishment of Infanticide continues. ActionAid is committed to working with various MDAs, corporates, and individuals to ensure that all practicing communities end the barbaric practice, equip the children’s new home, and help VHH become self-sustaining. ActionAid Nigeria is working to raise eighty-seven million naira towards all of these as part of phase 2 of the MATAI project.


ActionAid truly appreciates all corporate organisations and community sponsors who donated towards this project. Without you, we wouldn’t have achieved all we did.


If you’d like to donate towards any of our outstanding activities, please call 07007070700 for more information and donations can also be made to ActionAid Nigeria’s Community Sponsorship GTBank 0216379681

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Insurgencies in Nigeria

The insurgency in Nigeria began in July 2009 in Maiduguri, Borno State. The violence has since spread to Yobe, Kano, Bauchi and Gombe States, unfortunately, over 25,000 people have lost their lives from bomb blast across the north-east Nigeria and the FCT. The violence is getting relentless and increasingly shocking. The constant capturing and re-taking of communities have left a lot of people homeless and separated from their loved ones.

According to the internal displacement monitoring centre, the continued attack on the north-eastern Nigeria has forced about 1.5million people to flee their homes and take refuge in IDP centres across the country. With a high level of insecurity and displacement, internally displaced people, the vast majority of whom are women and children, face a range of threats to their physical safety and restrictions on their freedom of movement.

One of our local right communities, Kupto of Funakaye local government area of Gombe State is one of the communities experiencing high influx of internal displaced persons from neighboring states -Yobe and Borno. ActionAid and our local partner, Hope Foundation for the Lonely have been distributing food items to the IDP centres in the Kupto community. Presently, we support 206 people in Kupo IDP centre with food items but there are over 10,000 more people mostly, women and children spread across other poor communities in the state who still need our intervention with food and other materials.

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Born to die? (Untold story of children born to die)

Twins, children of multiple births, those who grow their upper teeth first, children with down syndrome or birth defects are considered evil and killed in 57 communities across FCT. The method of killing involves burying them alive, poisoning, starving or suffocating to death.

We are mobilizing action and resources to end infanticide in FCT. Donate

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