At the moment, Swisshand is operating over 25 programmes in rural, mostly very remote areas. Although Nigeria is listed as the sixth biggest OPEC oil producer, making it an emerging industrialising country, there are many regions, neglected by the state, where poverty is widespread. Overall, there remains 70 percent of the population who is living under the poverty line. Swisshand is working primarily on site with catholic dioceses, as well as regionally steadily anchored NGOs as partner organisations.
The regions in the North are in some instances as far as 800 km apart. Around 70 percent of Nigeria’s landscape is covered by the savannah, whereby the agricultural products in the North are expected to withstand the desert climate, making millet a popular crop to cultivate. The North is, due to its natural landscape conditions, agriculturally distinguished, making agricultural a profound source of income, even though some of these areas remain underdeveloped.
The region in the south is characterised by the wet savannah. Due to the tropical, humid, and hot climate with a predominant rainy season from April through October, the ground in South Nigeria is in some instances very fruitful.
Not only the topographical location and the accompanying distinction of agricultural conditions in the North and the South, but also the ethnic conflicts between the predominantly Islamic North- and Christian South Nigeria, weighing heavily on the inequality within the country. Since only 50 percent of all school age children are visiting school, despite compulsory school attendance, most are encouraged to contribute to the financial livelihood of their families already at a young age. Particularly the unequal distribution of Nigeria’s GDP illustrates the inequalities within the country.
This is where Swisshand’s assistance comes in. Notably those who are most in need are given aid in the form of microcredits, education and training, and consultations to take on entrepreneurial roles and secure a financial future for themselves and their families.