By Abdulkareem Haruna
The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) on Monday, July 5, inaugurated a three years programme aimed at promoting resilience and peace in the northeast of Nigeria.
The WFP/UNICEF joint project is powered by a 40 million dollars estimated grant from the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development ( BMZ ) through KfW.
The project would be implemented under the coordination of the Borno state ministry of Finance, Budget Planning and Economic Development Development.
The project is to be implemented in two communities in Borno and Yobe states within the inception phase of January -June/July 2022 to the implementation phase that ends in December 2024.
Giving the overview of the project, Josephine Okhide, UNICEF Emergency Specialist said the multi-sectoral project cut across seven thematic areas adopt with the WFP handling the Livelihoods and Nutrition aspects while the UNICEF focus on Nutrition, Health, WASH, Education and Child Protection.
Ms Okhide said the project is expected to impact “156,888 direct beneficiaries and 362,307 indirect beneficiaries.”
“Beneficiary targeting will focus on households comprising of pregnant women and children 0-23 months and school-age children between 6-17 years, households with vulnerable adolescent girls,
the elderly and people with disabilities.”
She said the BMZ project “will complement and not overlap with WFP and UNICEF’s humanitarian activities in the targeted areas.”
She said the project is significant because its proposed activities “contribute to 7 Sustainable Development Goals: SDG 1 (ending poverty), SDG 2 (zero hunger), SDG 3 (good health and well-being), SDG 4 (quality education), SDG 5 (gender equality), SDG 13 (climate action), SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) and SDG 17 (partnerships for goals).”
She stressed that the project is important because it “strengthens resilience, and social cohesion across vulnerable population groups, and structures and systems of local government.”
Speaking at a press conference at the end of the inaugural meeting, the head of the Unicef Maiduguri Field office, Clement Adams, said the project has a well-designed sustainability component because it was designed to be replicated in other parts of the state by the local government authorities.
Also speaking on the sustainability issue, the WFP’s head of area office, Borno state, Bernard Owadi, explained that Shani local government was specifically selected for the project because the sustainability challenges were factored in.
“That’s why we looked for locations that will give us that latitude of implementation without worrying about challenges of failure,” Mr Owadi said.
“A sustainability plan has been developed with the input of all stakeholders including the communities from the beginning. We also bring in the government and local authorities to ensure sustainability,” the WFP head said.
The permanent secretary Borno state ministry of Finance, Budget and Planning, who represented the Commissioner, Adamu Lawan, thanked the government of Germany for approving the project in one of the local government areas of Borno state.
He said the ministry is committed to the project by ensuring that the objective of such collaborative and laudable efforts is achieved.