Nigeria has an overwhelming population of over 170 million people. The megacity of Lagos is expected to have a population of 24 million by 2030. Many factors have led to Nigeria having almost 11 million orphaned children.
Hostile divisions exist between the predominantly Christian south and Muslim north where Islamic law has been imposed in several states; thousands of people have died in communal attacks. Violence towards women is a serious crisis. 25% of women and 17% of girls have been victims of Female Genital Mutilation.
Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer, yet over 100 million people are living on less than a dollar a day. The poorest people have little access to basic services such as education, health care and power. Investment in education has remained low, leaving Nigeria with a failing education system. 220,000 primary school teachers are needed to adequately educate all school aged children. Only 25% of children from the poorest families go to primary school.
Efforts to reduce child marriage are projected to have no impact in offsetting the population growth, and in 2050, 56% of women will still be married before age 18. 29% of adolescent girls give birth by age 18. Unemployment has forced many women into the sex trade where 25% of female sex workers are HIV positive. Only 15% of all women in Nigeria use contraception.
A horrific separation exists between the rich and poor, reflected in a class system accepted by many. In Lagos, desperately poor children live in overcrowded slums without water or sewage systems, literally living in the cracks between mansions. Only 6% of the poorest women in Nigeria have a skilled attendant during birth compared to 85% of the richest women. The local church often encourages seeking personal prosperity above serving those in need. The local Christian volunteers who have come forward to serve the communities supported by Hands at Work are breaking new ground. Together they are seeking out the most vulnerable children, and giving their lives to loving those who many disregard.
We envision the local church in Africa effectively caring for the dying, orphans, and widows and unified in this mission with the church outside Africa.
Orphaned children (age 0-17): 10,800,000
Children orphaned by HIV/AIDS: 2,000,000
Under 5 mortality rating (per 1000 live births): Female – 111 | Male - 124
Secondary School Attendance:
Female – 45% | Male – 53%
People living with HIV: 3,200,000
Life expectancy at birth: Female - 53 | Male – 52
Lifetime risk of maternal death: 1 in 31
population below the international
poverty line: 68%
Country rating (out of 187) on the Human Development Index: 152
– Sources: UNAIDS, UNICEF, UNDESA 2014, UNICEF 2014