Raising Nigerian Children: Community-Based Solutions Bring Hope


Nigeria is home to 17.5 million orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). According to the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, one in every four children in Nigeria is considered vulnerable due to unmet needs for nutrition, education, shelter, care, or support.

The Need for New Solutions

Traditionally, Nigerian community members have taken on the responsibility of caring for children in the wake of their parents’ death or the absence of family support. Today, however, with 2.5 million Nigerian AIDS orphans, the OVC burden has become too large for communities to bear. Without resources or social structures to help these children, many grow up impoverished, ill, and uneducated, and become vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

Stakeholder Collaboration for System Strengthening

In 2009, to address these needs, the PEPFAR-funded, USAID- implemented Community-Based Support for OVC (CUBS) project began supporting vulnerable children in 11 of Nigeria’s 36 states. Implemented by Management Sciences for Health (MSH) in partnership with Africare, CUBS worked with 38 civil society organizations (CSOs) to improve support for vulnerable children. These organizations collaborated with caregivers, community leaders, and state ministries to develop the local capacity and social systems that are now supporting more than 51,200 vulnerable children.