For Nigerian women and girls, patriarchal norms, rampant violence, and poverty are obstacles they encounter in their daily lives.
Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country, but rising instability, cash scarcity, a weakening economy, and distrust of government is threatening its progress.
- 180 million people live below the international poverty line.
- 60% of girls are absent from secondary school.
- 1.9 million people are internally displaced — most of them women and children.
Localized violence spurred by farmer-herder violence, armed banditry, and Boko Haram compromises the safety of women and girls—subjecting them to dangers like sexual assault and forced early marriage.
“We were taken unawares on our way to the farm, and before we could raise an alarm some of us were killed...on returning to the community, I found out that my house had been razed to the ground and corpses littered everywhere.”
-Nvou, SWSN Participant
Our Work in Nigeria
Through solidarity and opportunities provided through our programs, marginalized Nigerian women are bolstering their confidence and skills to face gender inequality and transform their lives, families, and communities.
Our flagship Stronger Women, Stronger Nations (SWSN) program in the Plateau and Bauchi states breaks the isolation of living in a high-risk environment by placing women in groups of 25. By developing vocational skills, learning how to run a business and how to earn and save money, SWSN participants use their power to transform their lives. In addition to their training for economic independence, they also receive instruction on their rights and reproductive health.
The Change Agents program in Nigeria continues to thrive as SWSN graduates participate to receive training on becoming advocates in their communities. As Change Agents, they champion their rights, provide health referrals and learn how to prevent domestic violence and abuse.
"If not for my revelations through attending the training, [my girls] would have been subjected to the same violations my mother and I went through.”
-Amos, MEP Participant
In 2022, Change Agents advocated for and collaborated with the local government, to open the first primary school in the Rudugungu community in Bauchi state, with girls accounting for nearly half of the 92 students who joined on the first day of class.
WfWI’s Men’s Engagement Program (MEP) was originally spearheaded through the work of the Nigeria team and has since expanded to our other country offices. To supplement our goal to enable an environment which fully acknowledges women’s rights, the program was established to engage men as allies, where they better understand gender equality and women’s rights.
"I now have a good understanding of women’s rights. I love, respect and treat my wife with dignity that she deserves."
- Since 2000, 84,306 Nigerian women have been reached by Women for Women International.
- Last year, 4,050 women enrolled in our Stronger Women, Stronger Nations program, and 2,924 previously enrolled participants graduated.
- 87% of women were involved in decisions about their child’s school attendance, compared to 27% at enrollment.
- 70% of women participated in savings/self-help groups, compared to 13% at enrollment.
- 66% of women were involved in family planning for their household, compared to 51% at enrollment.
- Last year, the Men’s Engagement Program (MEP) reached 3,900 men. Since MEP's inception in Nigeria, 16,667 men have been reached through the program.