It has been seven months since the first case of COVID-19 coronavirus was reported in Nigeria and over 50,000 cases have now been recorded.
From the onset, the government put measures in place to slow the pandemic, including 5-week lockdowns in Lagos and Abuja, and an ongoing partial lockdown.
Nigeria — the most populous nation in Africa, with the highest rates of extreme poverty in the world — has fragile health systems; while about 150 million people don’t have access to the basic handwashing facilities needed to combat the virus.
Despite the government’s work to limit the potentially devastating impact of the pandemic, more support is needed. More than half of Nigeria’s population of 204 million people live in extreme poverty, while over 60% of the country’s economy is informal, and almost 40 million job losses are anticipated by December 2020 due to the pandemic.
The spread and impact of COVID-19 requires joint efforts to tackle its effects on health care, food and job security, education, and the economy.
That’s why Global Citizen Nigeria has partnered with the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) to establish the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund — a Fund to provide immediate support in the country’s response to COVID-19, and mitigate future health crises.
The Fund will play an important part in tackling COVID-19 in Nigeria by helping build resilient health care systems, support Nigeria’s most vulnerable groups, and reskill and train up Nigeria’s young people for a stronger post-COVID-19 era.
“The government of Nigeria is delighted that NSIA, together with the world’s leading international advocacy organisation, Global Citizen, and their partners, have embarked on a process to set up a new funding vehicle,” said Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, during the official announcement of the Fund.
Tunde Folawiyo, chairman at Global Citizen Nigeria, continued: “Global Citizen will mobilise Nigerians, Nigerians in the diaspora, and global partners, together with the philanthropic and private sectors, in our nation’s fight against COVID-19.”
Here is everything you need to know about the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund — and how you can help.
What is the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund and why is it being launched?
Nigeria’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic requires Nigerian citizens and those in the diaspora to work alongside the government and other partners in the country’s relief efforts.
This includes actions like adhering to social distancing and self-isolation, as well as the financial support of international businesses and philanthropists.
The NSSF is set up by Nigerians, for Nigerians. Nigeria needs a movement of citizens participating in development, from young people to leaders to influencers. This Fund gives everyone the opportunity to get involved with supporting the country in growing back stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic.
How will it work?
The Fund will target three core COVID-19 issue areas, addressing the response to COVID-19, mitigating its economic and social impacts, and recovering from COVID-19 in a way that builds back stronger for a post-COVID-19 era. These objectives are:
- Supporting vulnerable populations
- Building health systems resilience
- Reskilling the Nigerian workforce.
The Fund will support initiatives that target the most vulnerable populations, such as the elderly and people with underlying health conditions; and strengthen health care systems in various communities across the country to enable the country to better cope with future health crises.
And as a result of the pandemic creating both a global health crisis and an economic crisis, the NSSF will also address the skills gap required to strengthen Nigeria’s labour market and meet the demands of a changing workforce in the aftermath of COVID-19.
How much is the Fund looking to raise?
The Fund is looking to raise $50 million (20 billion Naira) in the first 18 months, to support critical COVID-19 relief efforts in Nigeria. Given the country’s historically under-funded health system, the overall need in Nigeria is expected to be far greater.
Why the partnership with NSIA and what will its role be?
The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) plays a leading role in driving Nigeria’s sustained economic development through the careful implementation of its three core mandates: commitment to Nigeria, the nation’s people, and its sovereignty.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has strained the nation’s health, social, and economic systems, yet our resolve to work together to contain it remains unflinching,” said Uche Orji, NSIA’s managing director. “We are thrilled to partner with Global Citizen in launching the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund, as the fund manager."
NSIA will be working as the Fund manager on a pro bono basis.
Why is the Fund supporting more than just health initiatives?
COVID-19’s impact goes far beyond the health sector and, as such, the response to the pandemic needs to cut across numerous sectors.
To effectively support Nigeria’s response, efforts must be integrated, and must centre the most vulnerable communities to ensure that no one is left behind.
Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, vice-chairman at Global Citizen Nigeria, explained: “Our efforts must ensure that we are able to envision and meet the demands that will emerge in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
How will I know the Fund donations are going where they're needed?
The NSSF is committed to full transparency and reporting around funding awards, use of funds, and overall Fund impact.
The Fund will publicly share a running total of funds committed on its website, as well as quarterly downloadable reports that detail how these funds have been allocated, to help stakeholders understand how their funds are delivering measureable impact in Nigerian communities. An independent external firm will provide auditing services annually.
How can I help?
You can read here all about how you can help support the Fund — through spreading the word on social media, making a pledge to support the building of a new Nigeria post-COVID-19 through the NSSF, or by making a donation to support the Fund.
To find out more about the Fund, visit the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund website here. You can also follow the NSSF on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
Learn more about COVID-19 and its social and economic impacts, as well as the global response, through Global Citizen’s COVID-19 coverage here.