Catholic Relief Services works with organizations around the world to help poor and vulnerable people overcome emergencies, earn a living through agriculture and access affordable health care. Catholic Relief Services supports hundreds of transformative projects in more than 100 countries around the world. Our work is not built around one idea or one size fits all approach; we tailor our response to need and the people we serve.
As the official international agency of the Catholic Church in the United States, we work with the local Church and partners to create a world in which people live as one human family. CRS' relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, water, education, microfinance, peacebuilding and partnership. Headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, Catholic Relief Services eases suffering and provides assistance to people in need, without regard to race, religion or nationality. Overseas, we work through CRS offices located in the regions of Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America and the Caribbean. CRS also works through regional offices within the United States to support Catholic individuals, parishes and dioceses as they strive to live their faith in solidarity with the poor and make decisions as consumers, voters and advocates to promote more just and peaceful societies.
Catholic Relief Services began working in Nigeria in the 1960s and was active during the 1967 civil war in the area of emergency response. After the war, the Nigerian Government asked CRS and other international development agencies to leave the country. Thirty years later, with the return of democracy after years of military rule, CRS returned to Nigeria in 2000 at the invitation of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria.
CRS has a history of health programming in Nigeria that spans over ten years. In partnership with the Catholic Church, other faith-based and community-based organizations, and government institutions, CRS implements a range of complex programs with support from a variety of donors and private funds.
CRS works in three priority sectors: agriculture and livelihoods, health, and emergency response and recovery. CRS supports households, communities and farmer groups to increase their agricultural production and diversify their incomes. CRS has also launched an impact investing initiative to strengthen social enterprises and bolster sustainable, responsible economic growth in the country and is developing a strategy to identify investments and support the impact investing ecosystem in Nigeria. In the health sector, CRS’ programs address HIV/AIDS, malaria, nutrition, routine immunization and polio eradication, and provide support to orphans and vulnerable children and their caregivers. In response to the Northeast emergency, CRS is providing access to life-saving food; shelter; and water, sanitation and hygiene resources and services for IDPs and conflict-affected host communities. CRS and partners work in 32 of the country's 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory with an extensive grassroots network and tremendous capacity to reach the rural poor.
CRS has been a sub-recipient (SR) on the Global Fund’s HIV grant since July 2011, where it has achieved the highest performance rating among the National Agency for the Control of AIDS’ SRs for two terms running. In partnership with State Ministries of Health and Local Government Areas, CRS also works as a sub-grantee with the Global Fund in support of malaria prevention and treatment. With funding from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, CRS provides intensive advocacy and program management training to the Association of Civil Society Organizations on Malaria Immunization and Nutrition.
Currently, CRS in Nigeria hosts two global USAID-funded initiatives. CRS hosts the country secretariat of the Core Group Partners Project (CGPP) that supports Nigeria’s polio eradication and routine immunization strengthening efforts at the community level. CGPP focuses on five northern states in Nigeria where children under five are at high risk of contracting the polio virus. CRS also hosts the Coordinating Comprehensive Care for Children (4Children) Project, a consortium of six organizations led by CRS, designed to improve access to HIV-sensitive services for OVC and their households. In Nigeria, 4Children provides technical assistance to 16 President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) OVC Implementing Partners and 33 state governments.
CRS presently implements a multi-sectorial agriculture-led livelihoods project to empower very poor households. CRS supports households to increase their agriculture production and incomes, as well as improve comprehensive nutrition, water, sanitation, and hygiene education in response to livelihoods challenges faced by many farming households in Northwest Nigeria.
Through funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, CRS’ Strengthening Cassava Seed Systems and the follow-on BASICS program focus on helping farmers improve revenue and food supply with high quality certified cassava stems through a traceable value chain. At present, CRS’ cassava project is developing an economically sustainable and integrated cassava seed system characterized by the commercial production and sales of planting material that spans the seed value chain.
CRS launched its emergency response in Yobe State in 2014, initially providing emergency WASH and malaria programming through private funds, then by a USAID Food for Peace-funded emergency food security program and an OFDA-funded WASH program. In 2016, CRS launched a multi-sectoral response to provide life-saving food, WASH, and shelter assistance as well as agricultural support to facilitate a return to livelihoods in Borno state. To maximize beneficiary choice and promote local market functioning, CRS utilizes an innovative, cash-based e-voucher system as part of markets-based programming.
Through the Capacity for Inter-Religious Community Action, CRS focuses on a joint approach to deepening commitment to capacity strengthening and peacebuilding, particularly inter-religious engagement.
Catholic Relief Services has established an office in the city to expand our humanitarian response. We’re helping meet the basic needs of those forced to flee and supporting people so they can rebuild their lives and livelihoods.
Nigerian schoolgirls in uniforms provided free by the community thanks to CRS partner agency Center for Women, Youth and Community Action. Photo by David Snyder/CRS
Helping Orphans Help Themselves: A day in the life of orphaned and vulnerable children in Nigeria
Uploaded on Jul 23, 2009, this story presents Abel and Ene, teenagers in Nigeria who, although orphaned by AIDS, are indomitably struggling to improve their lives.