With a population of 197 million, Nigeria accounts for about 47 per cent of West Africa’s total population and has the largest youth population in the world. Although the country remains one of the fastest-growing economies on the continent, some significant challenges cause persistent instability. Corruption, conflict, insecurity and unemployment are at the core of the country’s high poverty levels, inequalities, and social and political unrest.

These challenges have been aggravated in recent years due to the Boko Haram insurgencies in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states in the country’s Northeast. Triggered by a regionalized armed conflict, the crisis has led to widespread displacement and violence as a result of ongoing hostilities and military operations.

An estimated 7.1 million people are in need of protection and assistance. The conflict in the Lake Chad Basin has affected over 2.2 million people, and hundreds of thousands of Nigerians have fled to neighboring Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

As a result of the insecurity and violence, millions of Nigerians lack access to basic services, and many have been living in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) for several years.


UNICEF has used the Adolescent Kit to engage adolescents who escaped Boko Haram. On top of having survived violent extremism, these adolescents may be subjected to stigma and rejection from their communities and families after returning from captivity. In Maiduguri, young boys and girls were brought together in Adolescent Circles to learn how to cope with their trauma, build trust and express their thoughts, fears, concerns and hopes through art.

The Kit has also been used to provide psychosocial support to adolescents and young people (ages 10-19). With nonverbal communication through art, such as drawing, young people and adolescents were able to express and understand their emotions, learn to cope with their environments, and better engage with their communities after the trauma they endured. The Kit was also used to provide responsive and preventive services to survivors of gender-based violence and sexual exploitation and abuse.

In partnership with the Nigerian Ministry of Women Affairs, the Ministry of Education and partner NGOs, UNICEF provides training to service providers and community volunteers in how to engage with the adolescents in safe spaces, IDP camps, host communities and newly liberated communities.

The Adolescent Kit was instrumental in providing information and education on HIV prevention and was also used to empower adolescents through life skills and peacebuilding activities.

Since January 2018, the Adolescent Kit has reached approximately 20,000 adolescents, and over 300 facilitators were trained to deliver the services. Many adolescent champions have been identified within communities – and there is now increased acknowledgement of the need to engage adolescents in community life.