Strengthening Existing Structures in Nigeria
Change often begins with the right data that identify gaps in and opportunities for maximizing resources. Data help organize institutions, prioritize services, and bring diverse parties toward a common goal.
In Nigeria, a $36 million, CRS-led consortium branded SMILE—funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID—worked closely with the State Ministry of Women and Social Affairs, or SMWSA, to conduct a series of rapid-situation assessments. The consortium collected data on vulnerable children and their caregivers in the states of Benue, Kogi, Edo, Nasarawa, and the Federal Capital Territory. That data, in addition to national ministry reports, state and national situation reports, and census data, are empowering local authorities and civil society organizations, or CSOs, to scale up access to care and support for roughly 500,000 vulnerable children and 125,000 caregivers by 2018.
To guarantee local ownership and long-term success, SMILE is working in tandem with the Nigerian government to decide service priorities and project locations. At briefing meetings led by SMWSA, SMILE used the analyzed data to rank priority services for vulnerable children and their families, and to determine, by consensus, which local government agencies to target for further support and capacity building.
About two-thirds of SMILE funds are being allocated to the locally registered CSOs in the form of subgrants for service provision to target beneficiaries based on identified strategies. From the local briefing meetings, SMILE received information that helped the consortium develop a detailed request for application that interested CSOs used to apply as subgrantees.
Grant recipients will receive continued training, technical expertise, and oversight aimed at strengthening their institutional capacity throughout the duration of the project and beyond. This robust investment in human resources and capacity building will provide sustainable social services structures to vulnerable children and their caregivers.