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Transforming Lives

Mother and child in Nigeria

In Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, fewer than one out of every five married women use family planning. An additional 16 percent of women want to delay or limit childbearing, but are not using contraception. Limited access to family planning prevents women from safely spacing their pregnancies, fuels unsustainable population growth, and puts the health of women and children at risk.

Young girls convene for a “safe spaces” discussion

In Niger, it is common for girls to get married as young as 14 years old and miss out on the opportunity to attend school and learn essential life skills. They grow up lacking knowledge of proper health, nutrition and pregnancy practices, leading to high rates of chronic malnutrition and related pregnancy complications affecting them and their future offspring.

Nigerian film stars take action to encourage youth to get involved in civic activities

A new  civic education film from the Youngstars Foundation asks Nigerians the question, “Aftercount, I Vote Wetin?” (“I Voted, Now What?”). The film, released in 2012, encourages Nigerian youth to stay involved in the political process between elections.

Members of Kano Polio Victims Trust Association during a rally at the palace of the Emir of Kano, northern Nigeria.

Amina Abdullahi is just one of thousands in Nigeria who have contracted polio, an infectious, viral disease that invades the nervous system and can cause paralysis. Many of those who have contracted polio face discrimination in Nigeria and find it difficult to lead a normal life. For Abdullahi, the situation worsened when her father died and she became the sole provider for her family. Although trained as a tailor, she could not find employers who would let her practice in their shop. Abdullahi learned of the Kano Polio Victims Trust Association, an organization set up to provide financial and technical support, including vocational training, for its members so they can engage in cottage industries to support their families. Learning of the situation, USAID provided the association with new equipment, including 10 sewing machines, five knitting machines and two specialized embroidery machines. The news spread fast among association members, and Abdullahi and most of the other trainees returned to the center, along with 23 new members in the tailoring classes.

Joy Emmanuel and her son George

Thirty-two-year-old Joy Emmanuel lived with fistula for half of her life. Long after giving up hope of a remedy, she heard on the radio that women could receive fistula surgery at the Faridat Yakubu Fistula Center, in Gusau, Nigeria. The Nigerian National Strategic Framework for fistula prevention and control estimates that between 400,000 and 800,000 women are affected. Nearly half of worldwide fistula cases occur in Nigeria, with between 50,000 to 100,000 new cases each year. USAID is working to address the challenge of obstetric fistula in five states in northwestern Nigeria. During the project’s first three years 2,822 women received fistula repair surgery.

Last updated: August 19, 2015

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