Stories from change-makers in Nigeria
Her experiences have fueled her drive to fight for girls’ and women’s rights in Nigeria. And her work for gender equality is crucial. Up to six out of 10 women in North East Nigeria have experienced one or more forms of gender-based violence, with a rise of 7.7% since the conflict with Boko Haram began.
“The situation for women in North East Nigeria is bad, especially because they don’t have access to economic opportunities to make money for themselves,” Aishatu says. “With COVID-19, this has worsened.”
The pandemic has complicated Aishatu’s activism with Plan International. But she and other advocates are finding new ways to relay their messages, using social media and radio to share helpline numbers for referral centers where women can access care if they have experienced violence.
“A lot of young girls reach out to me for mentorship because they are inspired by what I do, and they say that they want to be like me.”
For the past five years, Sadiya wanted to start her own knitting business. But with purchases needed for thread and a sewing machine — and the uncertainty of making a sustainable income — she wasn’t sure it could ever be possible.
Then, she heard about a Plan program where young people learn skills like sewing, welding, catering, hairdressing, furniture-making and computer repairing. At the end of the training, participants are given help to set up their own business to generate an income and support themselves.
“Plan International came and enrolled me for free, they even gave me transport money to the training venue,” Sadiya says. “I finally learned how to knit, and today I have my own machine given to me through the project.”
Sadiya now makes and sells clothes for babies. She can now generate her own income and support her family independently. Over 1,375 other young people like her have been reached through this economic empowerment project. And in the community, crime rates have reduced because more young people are equipped to fulfill their passions.
“I can’t believe I can generate my own income and help my family,” Sadiya says. “I want to use the money I get from this business to send my three children to a better school.”
“There are a lot of patriarchy practices we need to unlearn in Nigeria,” says Loveth. “They think suppressing women is the natural order of things, which we are trying to change.”
As leading youth activists with Plan, Loveth and Gift encourage other young people to combat gender-based violence in their communities. They routinely visit secondary schools in the neighborhood to teach adolescent girls and boys how to identify and report sexual abuse, as well as provide sexual health education and career counseling.
Loveth, who is a doctor, and Gift, who holds a master’s degree in development economics, are both career-driven young women. Their personal experiences in the workplace have also driven their desires to stand up for the right of young women to choose their own career, and be protected in the workplace.
“A lot of women are being assaulted in the workplace in Nigeria with no repercussions,” Gift says. “This is because the companies have no internal policies to hold them accountable. Plan International has given me a platform to express myself, for my voice to be heard.”
The two sisters are currently working to develop a petition to be delivered to the Nigeria Corporate Affairs Commission to enforce sexual harassment policies on all registered organizations.
Plan International has been working to improve children’s lives in Nigeria since 2014.
Our work in Nigeria
Office & operations
Plan Nigeria’s country office is located in Abuja, with program unit offices in Sokoto, Bauchi, Lagos, Cross River, Adamawa, Borno and Zamfara.
Education, women and children’s health, protection and strengthening youth participation.
Gender equality is a fight we must all take on together. Through sponsorship, you can change lives and create long-term impact in communities.
The full circle of Fate
When you sponsor a child through Plan, you form an incredible friendship.
But that’s just the beginning. With Plan, you also have the unique opportunity to:
Send them birthday gifts and cards.
Give them special holiday presents called Little Treasures.
Subscribe them to Plan’s educational kids’ magazine, Sunny Days.
— Visit them (pending any travel restrictions), with individual travel assistance from us.
Each gift offering is safely hand-delivered by us, and given to your child with personalized cards from you. It’s likely that the child you sponsor will have never seen anything like these gifts, and with the exception of Little Treasures they’re available year-round to make the bond between you and your sponsored child even stronger.Meet a child to sponsor