Recognizing that the Government of Nigeria bears the primary responsibility for the protection of children in Nigeria, the Child Protection AoR in northeast Nigeria was established in 2017 and is the forum for the coordination of child protection in emergencies response in north-east Nigeria (Adamawa, Borno and Yobe). Its principal objective is to ensure that child protection services for children, including adolescents, and caregivers most affected by the humanitarian crisis are responsive, efficient, effective and inclusive. The Child Protection AoR is led by the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and co-led by the United Nations Children’s Fund. The operational coordination is managed from Maiduguri, Borno State with Working Groups in FCT Abuja, Adamawa and Yobe.
2023 Response plan in numbers
The well-being of children is threatened by multiple protection risks—child marriage, family separation, physical and sexual violence, psycho-social distress and use and recruitment by non-state armed groups in north-east Nigeria. Cross-sectoral risks compound these. Overall, limited access to food, quality education, healthcare and lack of adequate parental care, particularly for children with disabilities81, continues to significantly affect the physical, mental, emotional and social well-being of children. This is significantly so for 1.4 million children (41% girls, 59% boys) living in locations with limited or no core child protection services and community-based prevention and response to protection risks. The COVID-19 pandemic has further weakened coping capacities for families to provide and care for children; poor households in north-east Nigeria face more difficulty in accessing food as food prices and annual inflation increase, and food availability is expected to decrease82. Protection risks are heightened for girls, mainly adolescent girls who are most at risk of sexual violence and as a result of the pandemic, are also at a high risk losing out on education opportunities amongst denial of realization of other rights.
A total of 1,001,000 children (53% girls, 47% boys) and caregivers will be targeted with child protection services to prevent and respond to abuse, exploitation, neglect, violence and discrimination in north-east Nigeria. Forty-three per cent of the targeted population for the child protection response is in Borno state, 33% in Adamawa and 24% in Yobe. Among the LGAs in Borno, Maiduguri has the highest number of targeted children and caregivers. Overall, the Sub-Sector will aim to reach approximately 8,000 children living with disabilities with child protection services. The Child Protection Sub-Sector will aim at the following objectives:
Based on lessons from the COVID-19 response, the Sub-Sector’s investments in community-based structures for child protection will go beyond the establishment of child-protection committees. They will integrate child protection in existing community and school-based structures and management committees and camp coordination committees. This strategic approach will not only reinforce the individual, family and community protective capacities but will also enable continuity of child protection services, particularly when and where access to humanitarian actors is limited.