On March 29, 2022, USAID launched the USAID Advancing Nutrition project in Nigeria, which will focus on Kebbi, Sokoto, and Bauchi states. The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning Honorable Clem Agba chaired the event and was represented by Dr. Faniran Sanjo.
In his welcome address, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning Dr. Fabian Sanjo expressed appreciation for the U.S. Government for its commitment to ending malnutrition in Nigeria. He also emphasized the commitment and the political will of the Nigerian government to addressing malnutrition in women and children, as exemplified by the National Home Grown School Feeding Program. He also reiterated the government’s support for the project and pledged support in every way.
In her introductory speech, USAID Advancing Nutrition’s Director of Country Programs, Tina Lloren, commended the Government of Nigeria and other stakeholders that provided invaluable input to the development of the project, adding that their effort helped ensure that the work aligned with the government’s priorities of optimal nutrition for all citizens. “We are very excited to embark on this challenge in support of the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria” she explained.
Director, Health Population and Nutrition Office, USAID/Nigeria, Paul McDermott delivered the keynote address and emphasized the need and benefits of a multi-sectoral approach to address the growing challenges of improving nutrition in the country. He stated that addressing the multifaceted challenges of malnutrition remained one of the Agency’s greatest focus areas and that it would continue to collaborate with the Government of Nigeria to provide support for women, children, and adolescents at risk of malnutrition. He concluded by emphasizing increased collaboration among stakeholders and improved coordination at both the federal and sub-national levels.
USAID Advancing Nutrition’s Chief of Party, Hadiza Joy Marcus, introduced the project’s key objectives:
- Strengthening technical assistance and strategic nutrition integration to improve links between nutrition; health; water, sanitation, and hygiene; agriculture; family planning; and gender interventions.
- Supporting a cohesive and sustainable plan to address wasting through increased coordination and collaboration while generating evidence to improve nutrition programming and inform future program designs.
Representatives of the governors of Bauchi, Kebbi, and Sokoto expressed their appreciation for USAID’s commitment to help tackle malnutrition in their states. Dr. Samaila Dahuwa, the Bauchi State Commissioner of Health, reiterated the state government’s support to help the project’s objectives of ensuring a healthier, well-nourished population.
The colorful launch ceremony was attended by dignitaries and stakeholders across the nutrition landscape in Nigeria, including representatives from the USAID Mission in Nigeria, UNICEF, and the Government of Nigeria including the commissioners and permanent secretaries for health, agriculture, budget, and planning, of Sokoto, Bauchi and Kebbi states. Also present at the event was the Director-General of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, the President of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, the academia, and members of the press.