Helping Gunguntagwaye access quality health care

Sajida Bashiru, 4 lay weak on the floor; her mother Amina, rested the child on the floor just to adjust her dropping wrapper. Sajida was rushed to the health centre on a motorbike; “she has malaria” Amina whispered to the waiting arms of the nurse on duty, they both hurried into an open office. In less than 15minutes Sajida walked out of the room with Amina wearing a wide smile. 

“People can die of simple malaria if they don’t have a clinic to attend” said Karima Aliyu. Karima is the women leader of Gungun Tagwaye Community.  

“Women have really suffered during pregnancy because of the lack of good health centre in the community, the former place we used as health centre was very small and people are not always going there because you cannot get medicine and sometimes nobody to attend to you” Karima recall how the community lost a pregnant mother and child from stress of travelling to a neighbouring community: “I remember we lost a woman and her unborn child because they have to travel on bad road to the nearby hospital to deliver her baby, the baby and the mother died” she sadly recounts.  

The government replaced the old rusty mud health centre built by the community to a better structure but abandoned it after commissioning. The structure was unused because of lack of personnel and medication. In 2013 after request from the community, ActionAid renovated the structure, equipped the facility and also empowered community members with advocacy skills to get government attention.  

“After ActionAid did the renovation of the Clinic, they also bought beds and provided medicine, then they enlightened us that we can use advocacy to bring government into our community, we decided to write and visit the General Hospital, we requested for more nurses especially female nurses which they gave us five female nurses” the women leader said through an interpreter. 

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Dinkiri Girls are back in School

Sabongari Dinkiri is a small but fast growing community in Kebbi State; the houses are muddy and far-flung from the other. It is predominantly a farming community of an estimated 900 inhabitants.

It is Tuesday, 10:15am; a school day and time, but children are seen cladding unto plastic plates, briskly walking in groups. “It is worse than this before” said Umar Muhammed when asked why some children were not seen in school.

“Before 2009, you will not find too many girls attending school because we don’t see the need for it. The boys can be enrolled into school while the girls follow their parents to the farm, they fetch firewood, take food to their parents in the farm and do house chores” Umar explained, noting that: “Dinkiri community has been in existence for more than 100 years; no girl has ever proceeded to Secondary School” he said.

Habiba Umar, Muhammed’s daughter grew up thinking that schooling was not a necessity; she loves to go to the farms in company of other girls of her age. At the farms they pick up residue of harvested crops and go home to help their mothers with house chore. This was a daily routine.

“In 2019, ActionAid and ASURPI came to our community with plenty school materials, they brought school sanders, books, bags and other writing material, they even gave our women 5,000 Naira each so that they can trade and to support our girls in school. This greatly motivated us to begin to take our girls to school. Before ActionAid coming into our community, girls don’t go to school in our community” Muhammed asserts.

Motivated by the gifts of school materials, Habiba and other 8 girls began to attend school more regularly. The new school clothes and sanders was a big motivator. “I was very happy when I received the gifts from ActionAid; it makes me look forward to attending school every day” Habiba said.

Habiba is excited that she will be advancing from Junior Secondary School to Senior Secondary School. “We don’t have so many girls completing Junior Secondary School, even the boys don’t continue after Primary School because we have only one Primary School and the Secondary School is in another community, so I am happy that my daughter and some other girls from the community will be going to Senior Secondary. I will do everything I can to support her” Umar assured.

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“Even now I don’t want to marry him until I finish university and if he doesn’t want to wait, he should marry someone else,”

Nafia Garba, 18, is in her final year at Government Day Secondary School, Warrah, but she would not be if not for the intervention of ActionAid’s youth Activist – the Activistas. In her community girls were usually married off once they completed primary or junior secondary school, but Nafisa’s parents wanted her to finish her schooling first. However, her father’s elder brother disagreed and arranged for her to wed a young man in a nearby village. Nafisa was forced to drop out of school for a year selling pastries and wrappers while the arrangements were being made. When the news reached her fellow Activistas, they worked to intervene, but it wasn’t easy.

“In this community, when a girl is getting married it is not her biological father that gives her hand, it is his elder brother,” Nafisa explained. “So they had to convince him because it didn’t want it to be that my father had given his daughter in marriage and now didn’t want him to give me out.”

The group rallied members of Nafisa’s family – including her parents, her father’s younger brother and her mother’s older sister – as well as the village elders to plead her case. Eventually, her uncle relented and allowed her to stay in school. Though she is still pledged to be married, Nafia feels confident that her education will not be disrupted again.

“Even now I don’t want to marry him until I finish university and if he doesn’t want to wait, he should marry someone else,” she said.

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“Because I didn’t go to school, I feel I can’t speak out boldly, but my daughters are more experienced and more intelligent,”

40-year-old farmer from Obegu-Odada community in Ebonyi state, Nnenna Nwakriko, is the third wife of a local farmer. Nnenna’s husband had left the responsibility for the education of her daughters solely to her. However, she was unable to cope with the burden. After her eldest daughter finished primary school Nnenna sent her to Abakiliki to live with relatives and learn a trade while her other two daughters dropped out for two years.

“During the training by ActionAid’s education team I was told to bring her back and send her to school,” said Nnenna, speaking through a translator. “They said that if a girl child is educated they can become nurses, or even work in government.”

Nnenna sold all her assets – her chickens, goats and farm proceeds – and began growing cassava in her backyard. Through the financial management skills she learned from her group leader, she has since been able to send her three girls to school and keep them there. She has even been able to build her own house for herself and her children within the family compound.

“Because I didn’t go to school, I feel I can’t speak out boldly, but my daughters are more experienced and more intelligent,” she said proudly. “I have always known that they will be better than me.”

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Greetings from the entire ActionAid’s community sponsorship team.


We were in one of your sponsored communities in Kwara state recently and met with 12- year-old Amomo Saliu, a primary five pupil of Asa local government primary school and a resident of Apa community in the same local government area. She recounts her growing-up years fetching water from the community stream and how ActionAid through your donations have changed her life.

Like majority of residents of Apa, Amomo’s parents are farmers who cultivate seasonal fruits like mango and cashew.  It’s the season of cashew which the residents of the community call ‘Kaju’ and Amomo supports her parents to pick cashew nut from the community farm every weekend which they take to towns like Afon or Ilorin, the state capital for sale on market days.

For three years, Amomo would wake up at 2am with her parents and other families to fetch water at the stream.  Only very few people go to the stream at this time so they all scoop the water into their buckets and wait after every ten buckets for the stream to spring out water from the ground again before they continue. She believes the stream water at this time is cleaner and safer to drink than the water fetched at noon. Her mother helps her put alum () in the water which allows the dirt to settle before she eventually scoops the ‘clean water’ into the clay pot for storage. This is the water she and her family drinks and use for other house chores.

When asked if the water makes her sick, Amomo says she often fall sick from drinking the water and sometimes have body allergies when the alum in the water is too much. With the nearest health centre over 20km away, her mother treats her with the local herb called ‘Agbo’ as there are no commercial vehicles to take them out of the community to town except on market days. Amomo says, she finds it difficult going back to sleep after fetching water at night and gets sleepy in class afterwards.

ActionAid constructed a borehole in Apa community which serves about 300 people within and around the community. Amomo is excited about the borehole especially not having to wake at night again.  ‘I only go to the stream to fetch water to wash my clothes and that happen when there are a lot of people trying to fetch water from the borehole and I have to complete my house chores on time. Water from the borehole tastes better and is safer for us than the stream.

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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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Aid for Internally Displaced Peoples Centre

November 2013 was the last day Four-year old Marvelous Kashamu Jerry saw her biological parents. The Fulani/Bajuu crisis in Madauchi community of Zango Kataf local government area of Kaduna State led to the death of her parents when their house was set on fire at night. Marvelous parents and four of her uncles couldn’t make it out of the house alive.

Marvelous was rescued by her aunt Paulina Yakubu who says ‘Immediately I realized our house was on fire, I ran out of the house and was able to carry Marvelous with me but one of the attackers saw me and shot at us which led to the loss of Marvelous’s left finger and another also pierced through her left arm. It was very hurting seeing her cry as she bled profusely.’ Paulina Yakubu is now Marvelous’s foster mother and they live at the IDP centre in Kaduna State

ActionAid Nigeria has been on-ground addressing the food and non-food needs of over 500 households at the internally displaced people’s centres in Kaduna, Nassarawa and Plateau states.

Each Household receives 1 bag of 50kg Rice, 10 kg of Beans and a pack of sanitary kit. Aged people also received Blanket and all the children were given clothes. The Food kit is expected to cover only 8 weeks of food requirements.

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Gizaki Phc Got Health Equipment Support From THSIP

My name is Mary Hassan. I am a trained health worker and also a farmer who plants maize, soya beans and groundnuts. I am happily married and a mother of 6 children (2 Male and 4.female). I am from Gizaki community with about 1,115 people. My community members do not enjoy full medical services due to lack of health facility in the community. It is always difficult for us to access health facility as we have to trek 35 to 40 kilometers. Due to this situation people of my community, especially women and children suffer a lot. During the time of pregnancy women face situations of miscarriage, some give birth on their way to the nearest medical facility while parents prefer to take their children for local medication in order to reduce cost.

We spend N200 to N500  or more when we access the local medication and more than N1000 to N1500 for transport to the local government as a result of bad road. This has also affected the community as our children suffer more of malaria and other issues such as skin infection, inadequate routine immunization for the children while women could not have their anti-natal care. But in 2011 ActionAid and its local partner FAWOYDI constructed a PHC for our community and equipped it with health equipment such as beds, telescope, tubes etc while the LGA council posted 5 health personnel which I am one of them. The entire community are grateful for this wonderful support.

In 2013, a pregnant woman was treated in the PHC for high blood pressure. It was observed that her blood pressure rose to about 140/90 and the doctor told to her husband that her blood pressure was suppose to have 120/70 which is normal for her with her condition of pregnancy. Before that incident it was difficulty for community people women especially to be treated for BP in the community because the PHC was short of health equipment to support the health work. But to my surprise in 2013, a donor organization under the USAID funded project known as TSHIP (Targeted State High Impact Projects) donated additional health equipment such as 2 hospital beds, 1 examination couch, 1 delivery bed, weighing scale for both babies and adults with delivery/AVC sets with the following 1 placenta bowl, 2 apron, 2 kidney dish, 6 fetoscope, 2 Blood Pressure apparatus, 15 measuring tapes, 2 stethoscopes, 1 infant ambo bag, 2 mackintosh etc to our community health center. This would not have been made possible if AAN and FAWOYDI had not constructed and advocated to other relevant stakeholders involved in the health sector of the state. The health facility is functioning and community people are accessing the facility even neighboring community come to access it too. At least about 30 people including children access the facility on weekly basis.

Thank you ActionAid Nigeria and FAWOYDI for making our hope of having an improved health center a reality. Now I believed that “health is wealth but only for people who believe in change”.

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Naomi: My Day of Joy

Hello,  I am Naomi . I am 32 years old and a parent of 3 children (2 male and 1 female). I am a farmer and grow millet and atcha. I also rear pigs. My community Gobbiya has a population of about 10,005 people. One of the saddest moments of my life was when I lost my loving husband in 2006. But today I am so excited to tell you that in 2010, ActionAid and local partner FAWOYDI put smiles on the face of my family by supporting my son Bamiyi with 2 piglets (male and female).  His story was told in 2012.  During the time we receive this support from ActionAid, 4 other families also benefitted from the support.

Today we are telling you another success story of our life. We are happy to tell you that our pigs have increased to a total number of 20 (11 pigs, 2 pregnant ones and 1 that has delivered 6 more piglets). We are benefitting from that support today as we have started generating income from the sell of the pigs. We do not have challenges in taking care of daily needs, payment of the children’s’ school fees and buying of their school materials like bags, sandals, books and also  buying of  my agricultural inputs like fertilizers and seedlings. I sell a big pig for about N25, 000 ($147.05) while the piglets is sold for N16,000 ($95). In 2013 I sold 3 big pigs and 6 piglets and generated an income of about N163, 000

My greatest joy is that I have started the construction of my own house in my community. This was made possible after I and my children agreed on what to do with the profits generated from our sales. I bought a land, molded about 450 local blocks which was be used for the house construction. The house is already constructed up to lintel level which I also hope to complete it in the upcoming year.

I am very grateful to ActionAid and partner FAWOYDI for making us feel the joy of a world full of love and care. “The only limitation to my realization of tomorrow will be my doubts of today for a change”

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How Zara got her groove back

Zara Ali

A night in late 2014 will forever remain indelible Zara’s heart; she remembers looking at the clock at 7pm and within seconds there was a loud bang at the door and facing her was her worst fear – her community, her home, her household had just been invaded by Boko Haram insurgents.

Zara said amidst sobs ‘‘the attack on my household happened so fast and I felt every bit of the pain my 2 eldest sons experienced while they were being killed with a machete. I saw humans killing humans like they meant nothing. My 25 and 23 year-old sons were brutally murdered for no cause. My husband was taken away and never returned.’’

Amidst intermittent sobs Zara continued ‘‘I gathered my other four children and we joined in the chaotic race for our lives with other Dikwa residents, we ran with no direction through bush paths till we were tired. I had my 2 year-old on my back all the while and it was a relief to finally lay him down for all of us to rest and thereafter continue the journey at dawn. Hundreds of us slept on bare grass in the bush till morning.

Sometime at night, my 2-year old son cried so much and not knowing why he was crying I just held him close till he slept off again. I woke up to realise I was clung on to a dead child. He had blood gushing from his nostrils and ears, I was confused and I was determined to give him a befitting burial while also curious on the cause of death. Strapped to my back again, we continued on the long walk towards Maiduguri; we stopped over to seek for food and shelter in a very small community and I sought to see the local herbalist who confirmed my son had died of snake bite. There I buried my son according to the Islamic rites.’’

Zara arrived Maiduguri and like many others, were hosted by a family, she calls him her ‘good Samaritan’. Some of her neighbours from Dikwa community were also lodged with host families around Maiduguri while others went to the IDP camp for succour. One of her friends from the camp came visiting to commiserate with her on the passing of her sons; it was during their discussion she heard about ActionAid proposed training for displaced women from Dikwa community.

Zara is one of the 9 women ActionAid trained on groundnut oil production and provided with a grinding machine, frying pan, local stove and a bag groundnut amongst other things. She said ‘‘this is a life changing moment for me. ActionAid is helping me smile again. I look forward to the start of a new life. Thank you ActionAid’’

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