The city of Jos is the capital of Plateau State in central Nigeria and has a population of almost 900,000.
Jos is an important trading and tourist centre and its tin mines attract internal migrants from all over Nigeria. The region is ethnically and linguistically diverse. Its location in Nigeria's ‘middle belt’ places it at the centre of the divide between the Muslim north and the predominantly Christian south and violent religious clashes are common. Growing up under these conditions is challenging. Many children have lost parental care or are at the risk of losing it.
Since 2011, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Jos.
Like in other parts of Nigeria, living in poverty is a reality for the majority of people in Plateau State, where Jos is located. Many people struggle to find work in the city of Jos and families tend to live in very poor conditions. They often do not have access to safe drinking water or sanitation facilities like toilets, which increases the risk of water-borne disease.
Furthermore, parents often struggle to feed their children. Around one in three children in Nigeria does not grow healthily due to malnutrition. This has severe long-term effects for children.
Many children in Nigeria do not have the opportunity to go to school. In the north of the country, the situation is particularly difficult, with only about 47% of children going to school. The percentage of girls who go to school is even lower.
The educational deficits in northern Nigeria are due to several factors, including economic barriers and socio-cultural norms and practices that discourage girls in particular from pursuing formal education. Without education, however, children struggle to escape the vicious cycle of poverty.