Owu-Ijebu is located in southwestern Nigeria in Ogun State, which has a population of almost 4 million. The region is predominantly rural and its economy is based on mining and agriculture. Although the pace of life here is much slower and less competitive than in Nigeria’s big cities, unemployment and poverty levels continue to affect the rural population. While thousands migrate to the cities in search of a better life, those who stay behind live off farming and often struggle to make a living. Infrastructure such as sanitation, health care and educational facilities is often lacking in rural areas, which affects children and young people in particular.
Since 1996, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Owu Ijebu.
In rural areas of Ogun State, basic infrastructure is in need of improvement. Only about 2 out of 3 households have access to a safe source of drinking water, and only a fraction have access to sanitation facilities that they do not have to share with others. The lack of sanitation increases the risk of waterborne diseases, which are particularly dangerous for children.
In addition, many children show signs of growth problems, as about 40 percent of children under five are too short for their age. This is a result of malnutrition. Due to limited medical care, this often goes untreated and can have long-term negative effects for the children.
Although the role of women in Nigerian society is gradually changing, there is still the need for changes that will empower girls and women.
Girls are less likely to receive an education and female literacy is particularly low in Ogun State. In fact, only 68 percent of women can read. The effects of not reading can have serious consequences for women and their opportunities in life - illiteracy can lead to unemployment and low community involvement.