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VSO/Onye Ubanatu


VSO Nigeria works with farmers, students, women and youths across Kwara, Nasarawa, Katsina, Kano, Niger and Zamfara States.

In the last year, VSO has been making significant impact in the lives of some of the most impoverished and marginalised in society with interventions in the areas of livelihoods and education.


In 2017/18, 7,500 students benefited from science education from VSO's Mobile Science Lab.


To date, more than 320,000 people have benefited from our programmes.


In 2017/18, we supported 22 farmers’ co-ops to improve leadership and management.

Inclusive education

Nigeria’s massive youth population – with over 70% under the age of 35 – means that education is crucial for the country’s prospects.

VSO Nigeria works to improve the existing systems and structures that play a crucial role in preparing young people to prosper. We are also harnessing youth power and innovation, along with the spirit of volunteerism to deliver new and exciting opportunities for youth development.

Bringing science to schools - mobile science lab

VSO's mobile science lab Nigeria VSO/Onye Ubanatu

One in nine Nobel Prize winners in science are from developing countries. VSO Nigeria is working with schools in rural Katsina province in the Mobile Science Lab programme. It's a mobile van with a set of lab resources and a qualified teacher trainer to rotate between 15 schools, reaching around 7,500 students and 60 teachers. 

Nigeria is ranked 131 out of 139 countries in maths and science education. And in one of the country’s remotest regions, young people are falling behind in their science education

Less than a quarter of schools have science labs – so, VSO decided to bring the lab to them.

The Mobile Science Lab travels around schools in Katsina, one of Nigeria’s poorest states. It provides a unique opportunity for young people there to get stuck into science, maths and technology.

VSO worked with the Ministry of Education and Nigeria’s National Youth Service Corps to recruit young Nigerian graduates to volunteer in schools. These young volunteers now deliver the mobile science lessons and are the future science teachers of Nigeria.

Recent results:

  • 15 schools reached with our lab on wheels
  • 7,500 students getting their science education
  • Young Nigerian graduates trained in learner-centred methodologies and prepared for careers in teaching

Read more about the project here


Farmer in Nigeria VSO/Natalie Agboeze

Lead farmer Yusef Musa Mariga on a demo plot in Mariga, Nigeria.

Our programmes in Nigeria are improving lives and livelihoods – making the system work for the poorest and most disadvantaged people.

Recent work has included 22 farmers’ cooperatives supported in organisational development, leadership and cooperative management; successfully mainstreaming gender equality (469 male and 521 female) in the production of certified community groundnut seed production; and providing access to sustainable savings, loans and credit facilities.

Improving market access

Lack of market access is a key component in the cycle of poverty for millions of people. Market systems limit access for the poor which, in turn, drives them further into poverty. The system is inequitable and unjust – and VSO is helping farmers in Nigeria to turn it around.

Improving Market Access for the Poor is a market-based approach developed by VSO and Accenture. It lifts communities out of poverty by building skills, resources and market access and making the system fairer for everyone. So far more than 320,000 people have benefited from our development programmes.

Recent results:

  • Deployment threshing machines across eight farmers’ cooperatives.
  • Partner organisations staff, lead farmers and primary actors across 4 Local Government Areas where trained on how to anticipate, prevent and overcome shocks and stresses.
  • 22 farmers’ cooperatives received extensive training in organisational development, leadership and cooperative management.

Young people don’t want to rely on government jobs anymore. I did a Diploma in Public Accounting and Auditing but I am more interested in farming. I have been encouraging young people to farm so that they can be self-sufficient.

Lead farmer Yusef Musa, Mariga

Find out more about Improving market access for the poor

Improving market access for the poor project page

Youth volunteering and participation

Nigeria’s has a young population, and empowering those young people can be a huge force for change.

VSO Nigeria is engaging young people with youth volunteers – helping children and young people develop new spaces and means to learn about and call for their rights, as well as a voice in the way services and policies that affect them are designed.

Recent work has included:

  • Establishing children’s and young people’s neighbourhood in Lagos and Zamfara states
  • Students’ participation and inclusion in decision making across secondary schools in Kwara
  • Collaborating with local activists, NGOs and leaders to lobby for improved legal protection for child rights in Kano state

International Citizen Service

Volunteer Greg Okonofua VSO/Onye Ubanatu

Greg Okonofua volunteered in Kwali, Nigeria. He has stayed involved with ICS and attended an international volunteering conference in Bonn, Germany.

VSO Nigeria’s success is in large part a product of the dedicated contributions of hundreds of engaged and active young people.

On the ICS program, teams placed in Ijesha, Osun State volunteered on a livelihoods project which has improved income for rural farmers.

This has inspired ownership and participation through community volunteering. The local partners – Farmers Development Union (FADU) – recently reported that currently 50 community volunteers have been actively engaged in local partners’ activities.

Learn more about volunteering in Nigeria

Volunteering for Development programme

The Volunteering for Development programme, funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) works to improve quality and access to health and education services as well as livelihood opportunities for the most poor and vulnerable.

The grant recognises VSO's extensive experience of putting volunteers in the right places to tackle poverty and inequality. Find out more


Our partners

VSO's valued funding partners in Nigeria include DFID, Accenture and the Million Hours Fund.

We have good relationships with government ministries of Education, Agriculture, Trade & Investment, and parastatal bodies like the National Youth Services Corps (NYSC), and Small and Medium Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).

Our local implementing partners range from research instutions, to colleges and secondary school boards, to local and international NGOs. Through our support last year, partners demonstrated improvements including in:

  • continuing professional development
  • people management
  • community engagement
  • advocacy and influence
  • monitoring and evaluation
  • market awareness
  • access and reach

Contact us

Interested in finding out more about our work in Nigeria? We’d love to hear from you.

Tel for education and livelihood: 08083804934, 07032305002, 0809688944.

Tel for ICS: +234 902 968 4229, +234 902 968 4228


Postal address:
VSO Nigeria
PO Box 2452

No 5 Mustapha Akanbi Close
Off 69 Road (Mike Adenuga Junior Street)
Abuja, Nigeria

Interested in volunteering?

We often have roles for specialist, youth and corporate volunteers in Nigeria. If you're interested in volunteering, click below to read more about what it's like to volunteer in Nigeria.

Volunteer in Nigeria