COVID-19 has brought food insecurity into sharper focus across Africa, and Nigeria, where AHF serves 21,850 clients, is no exception. Girls and young women are particularly at risk of missing meals, on top of being a group severely impacted by HIV.
As part of the Girls Act program, AHF Nigeria has provided relief by supplying 112 people throughout the capital city and six other states with food and other essentials. Mostly young women who are members of AHF’s Girls Act program received support, but several boys who are also affiliated with the initiative received food and other items as well.
“Poverty is a big issue in Nigeria which can be particularly troubling for those on HIV treatment and who can hardly feed their families as it is. COVID-19 brought bigger economic hardships with the lockdowns, virtually guaranteeing families would be in dire need of help with getting food,” said Steve Aborisade, Advocacy & Marketing Manager for AHF Nigeria. “This effort came at the right time to bridge that crucial gap for families of Girls Act members and also provided sanitary pads, since the majority are unable to buy them on their own.”
The Girls Act program was launched in 2016 in sub-Saharan Africa and seeks to empower young women and girls by promoting their education and fostering self-confidence to help them take control of their physical and emotional health. The program has since expanded to more than a dozen countries throughout AHF’s five global bureaus.
“It was moving to see how a little drop of help and support can brighten people’s faces,” added Aborisade. “More importantly, in addition to keeping them on treatment, these actions may have prevented these young girls from becoming desperate enough to consider dangerous alternatives in attempting to access basic necessities.”