Nigeria, action against hunger, hunger crisis borno


An estimated 617,000 children in northeast Nigeria are suffering from acute malnutrition. Help these children and those alike in other conflict areas

Country Overview

Nigeria is Africa’s wealthiest, most populous nation, and its fastest-growing economy. Despite this, more than half of the country lives below the poverty line, and northern Nigeria suffers the world’s third highest level of chronic undernutrition among children. This silent crisis is caused by lack of access to safe water and sanitation, rising food insecurity, the disruption of basic services due to conflict, and poor knowledge of healthy feeding practices for infants and young children. Communities in the northeast remain devastated by an ongoing violent armed conflict triggered by the opposition group Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati wal-Jihad, also known as Boko Haram. 

Since 2012, northeastern Nigeria has faced devastating insecurity due to conflict with the Boko Haram insurgent group. Displacing 2.4 million people and directly affecting more than 14 million people, this crisis was exacerbated by high malnutrition rates, food insecurity, poor water quality and access, and poor sanitation. “We are just starting to get a sense of how bad the situation is in parts of the northeast because, until recently, we have not been able to get into these conflict areas. But we do know that we must respond now, and prepare for a large-scale emergency. History has taught us that ignoring the blatant warning signs and the alarming evidence at hand—even if limited—will lead to nothing but tragedy.” - Yannick Pouchalan, Action Against Hunger Country Director in Nigeria.

People we helped in 2016


What we are doing

Action Against Hunger has been working in Nigeria since 2010. We currently have programs in Jigawa, Yobe, Borno, Kastina, Kebbi, Zamfara, and the capital city of Abuja.

From 2014 to 2015, we doubled the volume of our operations in response to the crisis, meeting the humanitarian needs of 2.1 million people with health and nutrition programmes; clean water and sanitation to reduce malnutrition and disease; emergency cash transfers to help displaced people purchase food or meet other urgent needs; and longer-term food security initiatives. By the end of 2015, in all five states, we succeeded in establishing services for community-based outpatient treatment of acute malnutrition that met internationally recognized standards for quality. In Yobe and Borno, where entire communities have been destroyed by conflict, we built new water sources and latrines, and rebuilt water points that were in disrepair. 

In 2016 we scaled up our operations following the Borno state government’s declaration of a nutrition emergency. We opened a new office in Monguno to deliver immediate life-saving support. Working closely with partners, Action Against Hunger provided food to displaced people and host families, distributed much-needed sanitation and hygiene items, and organized blanket supplementary feeding programs for children under five and pregnant and lactating women.

Our “Porridge Moms” initiative in Borno established 60 mother-to-mother support groups, built community cooking stoves, and hosted cooking demonstrations to educate mothers about how to prepare nutritious foods. In Yobe and Borno, we helped displaced families earn income with micro-gardening and “micro-business” training.




Famine looms in four countries
Famine looms in four countries

Children's lives at risk

Emergency in Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen and South Sudan

Photo credits: © Action Against Hunger Nigeria

Related reading


178.5 million
Average Life expectancy
52.8 years
Undernutrition among children under five