Food, finance and fuel: the impacts of the triple F crisis in Nigeria, with a particular focus on women and children

Working and discussion papers
October 2011
Fiona Samuels, Maja Gavrilovic, Caroline Harper and Miguel Niño-Zarazúa

The global economic downturn of 2008/09, coupled with the food and fuel crises, has exacerbated poverty and deprivation through shrinking employment opportunities, reduced wages and remittances, declining levels of demand and cuts in government expenditure – especially with regard to basic services.

A particularly vulnerable group, and one on which the crises are likely to have a long-lasting impact, is children. Evidence shows that, when children are withdrawn from school, are required to work, suffer early life malnutrition or are victims of neglect or violence, there are likely to be long-term, often lifelong and even intergenerational consequences. The extent to which an economic crisis intensifies these phenomena is thus a matter of major concern, as are policy responses to crisis episodes.

The impacts of the 3F crisis in Nigeria remain largely under-analysed, in part because of the dearth and poor quality of existing data. This Background Note presents key findings of a study that maps the impacts of the 3F crisis on vulnerable social groups, particularly women and children, as well as related coping strategies undertaken by households across Nigeria’s six socioeconomic zones.

This study highlights the complex pathways through which food, fuel and financial shocks affect families and children in Nigeria. While households are trying hard to adapt to and manage these shocks, evidence shows how these coping mechanisms have negatively impacted on children’s well-being by increasing their vulnerability to malnutrition, school withdrawal, exploitative forms of child labour, inadequate parental care and nurture and, ultimately, poverty.

Findings also show that the crisis is exacerbating previous deprivations and vulnerabilities – underscoring the importance of timely, targeted and comprehensive social protection measures.

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