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.

Karte von Nigeria. Eingezeichnet die Programme von Swisshand

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.