The civil society, also known as the third sector, refers to different organisations: community groups, non-governmental organisations [NGOs], charitable/humanitarian organisations, faith-based organisations, and foundations. 

They are usually formed by individuals, groups, or associations to address various social, environmental, and humanitarian issues that play a crucial role in the transformation and development of every society by using their influence and programs/activities to create a lasting impact in various communities, according to their vision and mission.

Here’s a list of top 5 NGOs in Nigeria that have been instrumental in their service to humanity across diverse sectors.

1. Lagos Food Bank Initiative 

Registered in 2015, the Lagos Food Bank Initiative (LFBI) is a non-profit, nutrition-focused initiative committed to fighting hunger, malnutrition and poverty, while also reducing food loss and waste to achieve a zero-hunger society for all.

With its operational facility and warehouse located in Lagos, the food bank carries out its service to humanity through 9 strategic programs which serves vulnerable families living in under-served communities. The programs include nutrition intervention (TEFAP, EDUFOOD, NUMEPLAN, FBNN & NIDS),  self-sustenance programs (Family Farming, Job Placement and Cloth Banking Nigeria), food rescue and Agricultural Recovery (ARP). Through these programs the food bank tackles the root causes of food insecurity, malnutrition, and poverty within vulnerable communities.

Since inception, the food bank has reached over 2.4 million beneficiaries, partnered with over 500 corporate organisations, 30 Primary Health Care centres and over 150 NGOs, with a volunteer strength of 24,000 individuals who help with their various activities. To read more about the food bank, kindly click here

2. Tony Elumelu Foundation

The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) is an African non-profit organization founded in 2010 and headquartered in Lagos. It is a pioneer member of the Global Impact Investment Rating System (GIIRS). So far, the Foundation has empowered over 18,000 African entrepreneurs across 54 African countries.

The Foundation’s mission is rooted in Africapitalism, which positions the private sector, and most importantly entrepreneurs, as the catalyst for the social and economic development of the African continent.

Since the launch of the TEF Entrepreneurship Program in 2015, the Foundation has trained over 1.5 million young Africans on, Africa’s largest digital entrepreneurship ecosystem, directly funding over 18,000 African women and men, who have collectively created over 400,000 direct and indirect jobs. You can read about TEF here

3. Save The Children Fund

Save the Children is a non governmental organisation founded in 1919, with the goal of helping improve the lives of children worldwide. The organisation works to ensure children have healthcare, food and shelter, as well as learning and child protection services when children need it most. 

With 25,000 dedicated staff across 116 countries, the charity organisation responds to major emergencies, delivers innovative development programmes, and ensures children’s voices are heard through campaigs to build a better future for and with children. Together with children, they work with governments and international organisations to ensure children’s rights are on the political agenda and hold leaders to account for the commitments they have made, ensuring systems are in place to protect and provide for all children.

4. LEAP Africa

Leadership, Effectiveness, Accountability & Professionalism (LEAP) Africa was founded in 2002 and is committed to addressing the crisis of leadership in Africa by facilitating values-driven leadership programs for personal, organisational and community transformation. LEAP Africa’s work has been built on the premise that Africa’s transformation rests on young dynamic, innovative, ethical leaders and entrepreneurs.

With footprints in over 26 states in Nigeria and recent programming in 8 African countries, LEAP Africa is on a journey of raising leaders that will transform Africa. Located in Lagos, LEAP Africa has impacted 7,600 entrepreneurs, 24,000 students and 5,000 persons through various leadership programs. To read more, kindly click here.

5. Sickle Cell Foundation Nigeria

The Sickle Cell Foundation Nigeria (SCFN) is a non-profit organisation based in Nigeria that focuses on addressing the challenges associated with sickle cell disease. The foundation was registered in 1994 to address important issues, such as capacity building, research, policy development, policy implementation, monitoring and evaluation necessary for the sustained management and control of sickle cell disorder (SCD) in Nigeria.

Located in Lagos, the SCFN operates a Private Public Partnership (PPP) with the Nigerian government through its affiliations with the LUTH & College of Medicine, the Lagos State Ministry of Health, the Federal Ministry of Health and the Sickle Cell Clinics supervised in Delta, Edo, Kano and Lagos States. SCFN works towards awareness and education, support for individuals with Sickle Cell Disease, medical research and advocacy, preventive measures, and collaboration and networking to impact society. Read more about the foundation here

In conclusion, charitable or philanthropic organizations have the model to drive and transform society positively, given sufficient resources, both technical and financial, needed for their various activities. Also, when backed by collaborations through favorable policies, funding, research and technical assistance, coupled with a constant involvement of corporate organizations through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities, a sustainable society for all can be achieved.