CHIYN/COVID-19 Relief – Addressing Mental Health and Food Insecurity

Community Health Initiative for Youth in Nigeria (CHIYN) is a LGBTIQ-led organization base in Abuja (FCT) and Minna (Niger State) Nigeria.  Our focus is on the health and well-being of our community.  We exist because of major challenges in Nigeria regarding human rights for LGBTIQ people.  Due to the 2014 Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, as well as the existence of Sharia law in parts of Northern Nigeria, our community members continue to suffer; lacking support from families and communities, as well as lacking access to quality health (including mental health) services. 

CHIYN Mental Health Campaign CHIYN Staff arriving at Community Clinic

Already marginalized, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our LGBTIQ community severely. Many members have lost their jobs and housing; and are struggling to survive.  Mental health challenges and depression have increased.  Just last week, we had three members seriously threaten to commit suicide. Many of our community members have been shunned by their families and communities because of their LGBTIQ status, hence, we have stepped up to help each other survive. 

CHIYN has been a beacon of hope for many.  Over the past few years, we have grown to not only advocate for better conditions for LGBTIQ people, we now are operating our own mental health service, and helping to manage physical health services specifically for LGBTIQ persons via USAID and other donor funds. We also are forging relationships with our local government to promote the health of our community.

Over the past 12 months, we reached over 23,000 LGBTQI people with health messages; and to date we are assisting over 600 LGBTQI people to remain on HIV treatment.  We also are currently helping to house 80 LGBTQI persons in Abuja and Minna (Niger State).  In the past year, we also documented and responded to over 450 cases of gender-based violence.

For the past eight months under COVID-19 lockdowns, we have pooled our limited personal resources to provide emergency food assistance, temporary safe housing and mental health support for numerous community members. However, the need greatly outpaces the minimal resources we have.  We really need additional support.  A small amount goes a long way.  Please consider supporting us!

Thank you so much for your support!

CHIYN Community Forum on Human Rights CHIYN Community Member

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