Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (CARES) Program

The Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (CARES) Program is a social protection project approved by the World Bank in December of 2020, designed as a short-term response to the adverse economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to project documents, the goal of the project is "to expand access to livelihood support and food security services, and grants to poor and vulnerable households and firms". The NG-CARES project offers supplementary funding to already-existing government safety net interventions at the state level, including cash transfers, public works opportunities, and agricultural infrastructure improvements.

Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria ranked among the top 10 countries where children were most likely to be impacted by extreme poverty and inadequate safety nets. Children in Nigeria face high rates of school drop-outs, child labor, and adolescent pregnancy. Such issues were only exacerbated by COVID-19, in which economic hardship increased the pressure on households to arrange early marriages for young girls, and school closures and isolation heightened children's vulnerabilities to both child sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment (SEA/H) and child labor.

Nearly half of the country's population is under 15 years of age, making children a crucial potential beneficiary population for any social protection effort. As the Bank has noted, the pandemic and its impacts has "reinforced the need for social protection in dramatic ways," and in the context of this urgent need and Nigeria's rapidly growing youth population, it is especially important for World Bank social protection projects to consider the specific needs of children, who often face barriers to access project benefits. 

Read about BIC's findings and recommendations here.