Nourishing Bodies and Minds With the Lagos Food Bank Initiative

Lagos is one of the wealthiest cities in Africa. You can see the signs of abundance everywhere—in the luxury cars rolling through its streets and the tech devices glued to the hands of its many global entrepreneurs. Yet for a significant number of Lagos youth, every morning starts with an impossible choice: Will I go to school today or will I eat?

Researchers have long documented the increasing food insecurity in Lagos, a thriving megacity known for global commerce and tech early adopters. Impacting both urban and rural areas across the region, food insecurity directly hinders a child’s ability to learn and develop. The issue raises a fundamental problem—How can children learn when they are hungry?—that the Lagos Food Bank Initiative (LFBI) is determined to solve.

On a recent trip to Nigeria, AiDEMONEY witnessed LFBI’s tireless work to end food insecurity. Inspired by the youth it serves and the administration of its program, we forged a partnership that’s already delivering progress for 400 children who no longer have to choose between physical nourishment and educational enrichment.

The Nonprofit’s Mission

LFBI is a nonprofit committed to tackling hunger, fighting malnutrition and reducing food waste through programs targeting pregnant women and their infants. Since launching in 2015, its 11,000 volunteers have reached more than 1.5 million families across 19 areas in Lagos State. The organization’s EDUFOOD initiative provides nourishing meals to food-insecure students in Lagos—increasing attendance, reducing dropout rates, boosting cognitive function and enhancing the nutritional status of the youth it serves.

Our Collaboration

When we learned about the prevalence of food insecurity in Lagos, it struck a strong emotional cord. Many low-cost schools in the region require students to pay 50 Naira per day; that’s the equivalent of about 10 cents. For most kids, that’s all the money they get from their parents when they leave home in the morning. With 50 Naira in hand, they face a heartbreaking decision: pay for school or pay for food. It’s not uncommon for kids to attend class three days each week and eat on the other two days, the LFBI volunteers told us. Without programs like EDUFOOD, that’s as far as 250 Naira will stretch.

The stories we heard from volunteers compelled us to take action. The nonprofit’s transparent, efficient operations made us confident that our contribution would make a tangible impact. By sponsoring the EDUFOOD program for one week, AiDEMONEY provided daily meals for 400 students in low-cost private schools—allowing them to put their entire 250 Naira toward attending class, without going hungry.

A core element of our EDUFOOD partnership was distributing the meals alongside volunteers.
When we visited the schools, we were heartbroken by the poverty we witnessed. One school was roughly as large as a single-bedroom apartment in the United States, with 125 students huddled together and no shelter from the elements. When it rained, class was cancelled. The disease spread and malnutrition in the room were immediately evident, but so was the appreciation coming from the students: “Now I can go to school all week” was the most common “thank you” we received during our daily meal deliveries.

Impact At a Glance: March 2021 EDUFOOD

AiDEMONEY’s Donation: 988,700 Naira (2,500 USD), with 2,100 USD for purchasing and packaging food items and the remainder covering administrative costs

How We Gave Back: Identified, inspected and enrolled beneficiary schools and their students; educated schools on the links between proper nutrition, academic performance and childhood development; prepared, packaged and distributed meals on school feeding days alongside LFBI volunteers

Tangible Progress: 400 children received meals daily for one week; four new students enrolled in the program; an increase in student attentiveness after each EDUFOOD meal

Sustainable Development Goals: Zero Hunger; Good Health and Well-Being; Quality Education

Looking Ahead

As AiDEMONEY grows, we’re committed to partnering with nonprofit organizations that make a measurable impact across the African continent. That includes LFBI, a trailblazer in the fight to end domestic hunger. Learn more about the nonprofit partners in the AiDEMONEY family and the impact our community is making with each money transfer.