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Capacity Development in Nigeria

ROSI | Sustainabel Development Nigeria

Nigeria accounts for about 10% of the HIV/AIDS burden in the world, with over 3 million of her citizen’s sero-positive and a HIV prevalence of 4.4%. Nigeria still has the 2nd highest burden of HIV Infection in Sub-Saharan Africa. The country is now home to a growing number of orphans and vulnerable children due to the disease.

This unprecedented number of orphans and other vulnerable children (OVC) is an increasingly visible reminder of the devastating capacity of AIDS to destroy families and to leave behind a vulnerable generation of young Nigerians. As in many other African countries affected by HIV/AIDS, responses to Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) have relied upon the extended family networks. Now with increasing numbers of orphans, the traditional social safety net is now unraveling, and the capacity and resources of family members – many of whom are already impoverished themselves, have been over-extended. Minimal social support systems outside the family exist in Nigeria. Even where basic social services are provided, they tend to be largely inadequate. Those children who slip through the traditional safety net often end up in the cities as street children, working children, or living in child-headed households.

In some severely affected communities, OVC face the challenge of acting as caregivers and heads of households. These children face severe physical, psychosocial, and legal challenges, rendering them disadvantaged and undereducated, and in turn more vulnerable to HIV infection. The negative social and economic consequences are already being felt with declining school enrollment, decreased agricultural productivity and economic decline. The loss of adults in the community, such as teachers and healthcare providers creates further stress on the community already struggling to care for its children.


Alarming as the current situation is, the full impact of the disease is yet to be felt.  Estimates suggest that by 2010, 25 million African children will be orphaned due to AIDS and that by 2020, an additional 55 million Africans will lose their lives to the epidemic. In the absence of adequate care and support, there will be devastating long-term developmental impacts on children, their communities, and the future of these countries.

The 2008 OVC situation Analysis in Nigeria shows an increase in the plight and number of OVC. There are an estimated 17.5 million OVC in Nigeria, including 7.3 million orphaned by AIDS.

One in every four (1 in 4) children living in households were classified as OVC.

One in every ten (1 in 10) children living in households orphaned (mother, father or both)

The proportion of orphans to non orphans varied by geo-political zones, with the south-east and south-south having higher proportions of orphans than other zones

OVC suffer poorer health than non-OVC among children living in households,

OVC have poorer psychosocial well-being than non-OVC among children living in households

The OVC serving - organizations in Nigeria have been burdened with the over whelming situation of the OVCs and the organizations’ lack of the capacity to meet these challenges.  International donors and funders, who give aid to OVCs (e.g. Unite States Agency for International Development (USAID) have also had setbacks in disbursing funds to these organizations due to the lack of capacity of NGOs and CBOS to meet the demand of OVCs holistically. This imperatively became a bigger challenge, because if the OVC needs are to be met, the community approach will be the only way out (working with community based organizations).

Research has shown that there are a number of organizations in the community that are willing to join the fight to reduce the plight of the OVCs, however they do not have the capacity to, both financial and human capacity. The government of Nigeria has not adequately responded to this matter.

This is a huge gap that motivated the OLIVE LEAF Foundation’s Regional OVC-Support Initiative (ROSI) intervention funded by the Swedish Development Cooperation Agency (Sida); to strengthen organizational capacity of the community based OVC-serving organizations to respond holistically to the plight of the OVC.

This was one of the main reasons why OLF was set up in Nigeria. The OLF/ROSI  Nigeria has strengthened over 25 organizations and enjoys formal relationships with 15 of these organizations.

The impact of the ROSI programme is felt through the 15 organizations, who initially served approximately 500 OVC in total before the ROSI intervention, now serve over 5000 OVC, providing quality and holistic services in Lagos.

The OLF/ROSI model and approach has been so successful in Nigeria that it is currently been used to strengthen community organizations in other parts of Africa like; Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia through the OLF/ROSI facilitators in Nigeria.

The acceptance of the model by the Nigerian government will assist in strengthening OVC serving organizations in other parts of the country, through the collaboration of OLF/ROSI facilitators and the Ministry of Women Affairs in-charge of the OVC in Nigeria.

The OLF/ROSI programme is regarded as a commendable model for programming in Nigeria, with community and government buy in. The OVC partners currently receive funds from international and local donors to carry out OVC interventions (e.g. USAID). This success is attributable to the resource mobilization skills acquired at ROSI workshops. The government’s buy-in and its involvement, communities and donors will ensure the sustainability of OLF/ROSI programme.


UNAIDS/UNICEF Fact Sheet on Children Orphaned by AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, 2003 and Federal Ministry of Women Affairs Nigeria, 2008 OVC Situation Analysis


UNAIDS/UNICEF Fact sheet on Children orphaned by AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, 2003and Federal Ministry of Women Affairs Nigeria, 2008 OVC situation Analysis


Federal Ministry of Women Affairs Nigeria, 2008 OVC Situation Analysis


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