October 16, 2019Since 2009, the Nigerian government has been engaged in violent conflict with Boko Haram militants in Northeastern Nigeria. People’s homes have been burned along with their farming fields. Food, tools and other possessions have been stolen. And many women and young girls have been raped by the insurgents. Many have lost their lives.
The insurgency has not only led to sexual violence, loss of life, damaged property and destroyed livelihoods, but has also triggered a wave of forced migration; nearly 2 million people have been displaced internally as well as across borders to the neighboring countries of Cameroon, Chad and Niger (UNHCR).
According to the World Food Program, 3 million people in Northeast Nigeria are now entirely dependent on food assistance for survival and 943,000 children under 5 are acutely malnourished.
Peter Egwudah, the program coordinator for the Presbyterian Hunger Program’s (PHP) partner in Nigeria, Civil Society Coalition for Poverty Eradication (CISCOPE), said, “it is worthy to note that the majority of inhabitants in these areas are small-scale farmers. As a result of this displacement, many lost access to their farms, and those that took refuge in IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps had to survive on aid for their daily survival. In areas where security forces were able to restore normalcy, the people returned to nothing, all forms of business activities were halted; shops and banks and other business premises were looted and destroyed.”
PHP has been working alongside grassroots partner CISCOPE in Northeastern Nigeria to provide seeds, tools and agricultural training to families who have lost everything with the hopes of revitalizing agricultural production in the region and working toward long-term sustainable development.
Sabina Samaila, a 36-year-old widow who lost both her husband and father to Boko Haram violence, relies on farming and petty trade to support her family. Samaila participated in a small-scale farmer training with CISCOPE and says that the knowledge that she has gained through the trainings will enable her to farm more effectively and even expand her farming activities, and therefore increase the income for her family.
PHP’s work in Northeast Nigeria is a part of a larger effort to respond to extreme hunger and famine. Please visit pcusa.org/hunger/extreme-hunger-and-famine for fact sheets, actions and stories.
Eileen Schuhmann, Mission Specialist for International Hunger Concerns, Presbyterian Hunger Program
Today’s Focus: World Food Day
Let us join in prayer for:
Let us pray:
On this World Food Day, we pray Gracious God that you shower your grace upon those who face violence and those who have no food to eat or water to drink. Dear God, we pray that you change the hearts and minds of those who perpetuate violence upon your children and your kingdom. We pray that you give us the courage and wisdom to lift up the voices of our brothers and sisters who are suffering from conflict, famine and extreme hunger, and guide us toward appropriate solidarity actions. Amen.