Over the past five years, the Feed the Future Nigeria livelihoods project has helped pull some of the most vulnerable families in Nigeria out of poverty. This U.S. government foreign assistance program has helped Nigerians improve agricultural production, income generation, nutrition, and sanitation.
The $22.6 million program in Nigeria began in 2013 and concluded just last month. Administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, and implemented by Catholic Relief Services, the program initially helped 42,000 poor households in Abuja – Nigeria’s capital, Kebbi, and Sokoto states to increase agricultural production, diversify incomes, and improve nutrition.
It also provided livelihoods planning skills, adult literacy and numeracy instruction, and cash transfers to the most vulnerable households. In 2017, the program expanded to Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states, reaching 10,000 more households.
“This project took a holistic approach to agriculture, to livelihoods, and to social development,” said USAID Mission Director Stephen Haykin. “It addressed the needs of the extreme poor by improving incomes and reducing vulnerabilities, and in this way, serves as a model for efforts to build resilience in rural Nigeria.”
The USAID program introduced new technology, improving agricultural production and access to input markets such as quality seeds for smallholder farmers. As a result, crop yields doubled for more than 33,000 farmers. The program also helped farmers to reduce post-harvest losses.
The activity engaged poor households in the rural economy by providing business skills and financial literacy support, vocational trainings and lending schemes; and safe spaces for adolescent girls.
Additionally, more than 2,000 community workers were trained to deliver over 1.5 million counseling and group sessions on nutrition that led to a 22 percent drop in stunting, 10 percent drop in wasting, and 53 percent increase in exclusive breastfeeding rates in targeted locations. A cash transfer component alone helped lift 2,740 households out of poverty.
State and local governments have shown positive support towards sustaining the gains from the program.
The U.S. is proud to work with its partner Nigeria to improve the lives of the Nigerian people.