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Improving hygiene and access to clean water

With almost 200 million inhabitants, Nigeria is Africa's most populous country and accounts for around 20% of the continent's population. The over 500 languages spoken in the west african country are a manifestation of the cultural and ethnic diversity of Nigeria. However, despite being one of the world's largest oil producers and one of Africa's largest economies, a large number of its citizens continue to live in extreme poverty. In addition to long standing tensions along ethnic and religious lines, terrorist insurgency in northern Nigeria have marred the country's development.

Years of instability provoked by attacks and kidnappings by Boko Haram in north-eastern Nigeria have resulted in widespread displacement and malnutrition. The effects of climate change and economic downturn have also been felt in the region, which is part of the larger Lake Chad Basin, including northern Cameroon, western Chad and southern Niger.

Despite the volatile security situation in the region, Malteser International’s team are on the ground, and have launched a transnational program in Nigeria and Cameroon. In Nigeria, a comprehensive project for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) is implemented in cooperation with a local partner, CIDAR (Centre for Integrated Development and Research). The project aims to improve the general hygiene and sanitary situation of internally displaced persons in Maiduguri. Project activities include the provision of hygiene sets, providing acess to clean drinking water, and construction of latrines. 

Across the border in Cameroon, Malteser International partners with ALIMA (Alliance for International Medical Action) to provide lifesaving aid for malnourished children.

Over 10 million people in the Lake Chad Basin are urgently in need of humanitarian support. Frequent prolonged droughts in the region mean there is less water and arable land to go around. The resulting food shortage has also been exacerbated by conflict with Boko Haram. Fighting has spread across the borders from Nigeria into neighboring countries Cameroon and Chad, creating a complex humanitarian crisis with consequences of enormous proportions.

With mass displacement and acute malnutrition on the rise, children are the most affected in a crisis that has left over 7.7 million people in Nigeria alone urgently in need of humanitarian assistance.
Many people do not have enough to eat and lack access to clean drinking water increasing the risk of waterborne diseases like cholera and diarrheal infections. In August 2017, a cholera outbreak was reported in Borno State, Nigeria, which claimed 61 lives by end of 2017.

Improving water, sanitation, and hygiene conditions, and combatting malnutrition among most vulnerable persons in northern Nigeria and Cameroon


  • Rehabilitation of boreholes
  • Construction of solar powered water pumps
  • Water trucking
  • Distibution of Hygiene sets
  • Training of water user committees
  • Hygiene promotion campaigns
  • Distribution of jerry cans
  • Construction of latrines

Cameroon (until December 2017)

  • Screening, outpatient and inpatient treatment of malnourished children
  • Hospital transportation for children
  • Training of women and mothers
  • Equipping health facilities
  • Training of health personnel

"I almost lost my mind"

Three years ago, insurgents from the terror militia, Boko Haram attacked Kulu's village, and killed her husband. She was forced to flee with her children and arrived in a camp for displaced persons in Maiduguri, in northeastern Nigeria. The experiences left her traumatized and fearing for her sanity. Today, she is trying to get her life back on track despite the circumstances.

Read more


Lisa Schönmeier
Email: lisa.schoenmeier(at)malteser-international.org

Country info

Capital: Abuja (1.5 million residents) 

Area: 923.768 km² 

Population: 186 million

Malteser International locations: Maiduguri

Project info

Duration: August 2017 -  August 2018

Financing: German Federal Foreign Office, Seliger Gerhard Stiftung

Partner: CIDAR (Centre for Integrated Development and Research), ALIMA (Alliance for International Medical Action), Caritas Nigeria

Last Updated: April 2018

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