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Updated: May 29

So much poverty and hunger that you find yourself with more questions than answers. I just thought i share some quick thoughts on poverty and hunger in Nigeria.

To achieve other Sustainable Development Goals, it is important to focus on addressing hunger (including all forms of malnutrition) and poverty in Nigeria. Finding sustainable solutions to reduce hunger will automatically fix poverty. The population of hungry Nigerians grows every day because surviving in Nigeria itself takes a lot. People are not so much worried about the nutritional quality of food but only interested in getting a full stomach and then back to the hustle.

The irony in all these is that Nigerians themselves underestimate the number of hungry people living among us. This is partly because living in Nigeria makes you numb your problems and package your existence because there is the feeling that no one is willing to help. Everyone in major cities looks most times like they are all put together but in reality, there is hunger, serious hunger happening. Hunger in Nigeria is no longer about where you live or that you have a job, multidimensional poverty affects a large percentage of Nigerians. These days with this economy, you better not assume, that your next-door neighbor, your friend, or your colleague could be battling with hunger.

  • How exactly has Nigeria thrived battling poverty and reducing the lines of hungry people always gathering at the slightest opportunity for free food?

  • How many Nigerians have been lifted out of poverty?

  • How have previous social intervention programs in the past achieved sustainable means of putting food on our tables?

  • How many Government policies have helped the streets?

Every day, statistics show that Nigerians continue to diminish under the weight of poverty, desperately trying to sustain the hand-to-mouth living standard. No room for long-term goals in system-built living, for now, the short-term appeal of stomach infrastructure furthers the grip of corruption in Nigeria. The question now is when will we be able to focus on building better systems from different sectors that mutually support each other in achieving a single goal to enact change? The government must focus on inclusive solutions, otherwise, we will still be stuck in our present state or worse by 2030.

Below I have listed key steps we can take to challenge hunger and poverty;

First, we must embrace different approaches to organizing communities, and adopt specific methods tailored to each community to deal with poverty and hunger. The idea of assumptions and randomization of problems, and solutions needs to be addressed so that solutions can be tailored to specific problems. Basing conferences attended by government officials, NGO heads, and social entrepreneurs on assumptions with a view of making grand changes without grassroots information and representation will end up as mere paperwork and a waste of resources. Policymakers and people in a position of authority need to stop assuming that what works for Lagos State will work for Borno State in dealing with hunger and Poverty.

A change in approach means focusing on synergizing public and private programs to yield results. Many private programs have the required manpower, and data in specific communities which are mostly headed by NGOs who are already reaching out to these communities on a small scale but are limited by funds there is the government which is usually corruption-prone with poor manpower and very little unreliable data but with funds; each doing their own thing but no result at the end of the day. There must be a mix of these two for the result.

The manpower of NGOs and organizations are at the forefront of community development which can be upgraded with funds from the Government to challenge hunger and poverty with sustainable solutions. There must be a blend of the different sectors with one goal, getting everyone represented at the table. The idea of community development for individual glory has only subsistence solutions.

An example is the work the Lagos Food Bank Initiative does for the slums in Lagos State largely supported by individuals with little support from the government. The issue here is with limited funding, there is very little Lagos Food Bank can do but with the full support of the Government, more people can be reached and the big-tested idea Lagos Food Bank does on a small-scale lifting people out of poverty can be done on a larger scale. This same model can be replicated in other states in Nigeria, tailored for specific communities and people’s lives transformed. The Government is doing its programs that have no direct impact on people on the streets, focusing on conferences deliberating solutions for communities without adequate representation from those communities, traveling around the globe seeking collaborations while local NGOs who already have the required manpower lack funding. People get awards and contacts but the main people wallowing in poverty do not experience change. When people work together, it creates room for self-realization that as a community, we can do more for the poor people in our midst instead of just waiting on the government to help them and the poor realize they too can help themselves when the opportunity is there.

Secondly, the government needs to focus on expanding food insecurity social safety net for Nigerians, establish policies and encourage cooperation with NGOs focused on grassroots poverty and hunger eradication like Food banks across Nigeria. This partnership will be crucial in educating the public on food donation, eliminating food waste, nutrition, job creation and other aspects of multidimensional poverty affecting Nigerians.

In the end, the Nigerian Government needs to do more to educate the public about Sustainable Development Goals as against focusing only on stakeholders. This education will not only be key to collaboration but also involve ordinary Nigerians in reducing the impact on the environment and dangers of climate change.

We must do better.

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