The 2008 Situation Assessment and Analysis of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) revealed that 17.5 million or 24.5% of children in Nigeria are vulnerable, with 17% classified as highly vulnerable. The HIV epidemic, poverty, maternal mortality, conflict, harmful cultural practices and gender inequity all contribute to their vulnerability. Over two million children were orphaned by AIDS, with another 260,000 children living with HIV. With more than 50% of the Nigerian population made up of young people4, this demographic bears the potential to fuel both economic and social progress. Therefore, the country must develop systems to serve its OVC who often live in precarious economic and food security conditions with poor access to basic services.
In response to these issues, the Sustainable Mechanisms for Improving Livelihoods and Household Empowerment (SMILE) consortium led by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) will strengthen the institutional capacity of States, LGAs, CSOs and communities to provide a coordinated, locally-owned, sustainable OVC response. To do this SMILE will capitalize on the strengths of its consortium partners;
SMILE Consortium consists of CRS, ActionAid and Westat
- CRS is the prime, manages overall grant and sub-granting process, institutional strengthening and OVC programming
- ActionAid Nigeriafocuses on systems strengthening at State and LGA levels
- Westat to provide data management support and strategic information system for SMILE