Nigeria is one of many food-deficient countries in Africa, and its alarming hunger statistics are tied with high levels of conflict that have plagued the region surrounding Nigeria for years. Food crisis such as the one in Nigeria causes distressing levels of stunting in children and is correlated with high rates of poverty.
This silent crisis is caused by lack of access to safe water and sanitation, rising food insecurity, the disruption of basic services due to conflict, and poor knowledge of healthy feeding practices for infants and young children. Food insecurity especially affects children as they are dependent on nourishment for growth and development.
Fatima has lived all her life in her small village far away from the capital city of Borno, her mother has a stall at the village square where she sells food items, while her father owns a motorcycle which he uses for transport business. Fati is the fifth of nine children, though 12 years old, Fatima looks 9 years old due to stunted growth and malnutrition . She had only been able to attend primary school up to class three before her parents withdrew her as they believed she had learnt the basics of reading and writing. This was the family’s tradition that ensured that all nine of them could attend school and get basic knowledge, as school fees for every child was a struggle. Her elder siblings after dropping out had all been sent to work under different families as maids or house keepers, and the same fate awaited her.
Despite how hard her parents worked,from the crack of dawn to dusk, there was never enough at home, in terms of food, and basic amenities, and this was a heart breaking situation, one that is all too familiar to most families in rural Nigeria, a higher percentage of the Nigeria population live in extreme poverty, where hunger is a common term and children growing up under this condition suffer from severe health deficiencies and reduced brain activity as a malnourished system does not allow productivity, most of these children do not survive such extreme situations.
Without the aid of humanitarian workers, a higher number of lives would be lost each year to malnourishment and hunger.