By Sunday Iduh & Faith Igbudu
Over 10,000 households in Benue State have benefited from the different intervention areas of a program called C19 NALPER, a 5 months project which was implemented by Community Links and Human Empowerment Initiave in partnership with Christian Aid and funded by UKaid.
Executive Director Community Links and Human Empowerment Initiave, Dr. Helen Teghtegh made this known in a round table chat with media organisations where the project implementors presented the areas of interventions and the success recorded through the project.
She explained that the project tagged ‘Localized Preparedness and Response to Primary and Secondary Impacts of COVID-19 on IDPs, Returnees and Vulnerable Populations in hard-to-reach areas in Nigeria and Afghanistan’ (C19 NALPER) became necessary due to the COVID-19 lockdown which has affected the economy
In a brief overview, Dr. Teghtegh said “a baseline survey conducted revealed that the areas of health, livelihood, WASH (water sanitization and hygiene) Social and behavioral change, accountability structures and gender protection were areas that required interventions”.
According to her, “the survey had also listed four local governments in the state namely Logo, Kwande, Vandeikya and Agatu to benefit from the intervention with emphasis on 16 communities”.
While giving the statistics, she said “740 households benefited from the cash plan while 1,327 households partook in the raw food intervention”.
She said “the team also built two new boreholes as well as renovated 44 old ones and fumigated sensitive areas in the communities like worship centers, markets, primary health centers and traditional leaders palaces”.
Also speaking during the interaction, Project Manager, Christian Aid, Tabat Baba stressed that the intervention is a way of stimulating local economic activities in the state.
He said the selection of benefiaries was not politically motivated but was done based on a survey that captured Strengths of localities, Population, Capacities and Rate of gender based violence (GBV).
He hinted that about 65 million naira was earmarked and expended on members in the selected 16 Benue communities.
According to him “the success of the project can be linked to the collaborations enjoyed from the Ministry of Health, Women affairs and the Media”.
Tabat said like the jingles done on radio stations, local means of communication were also employed such as town criers, door to door sensitization as well as community influencers.
He further disclosed that as a part of the sustainability plan for the project, youths in the locality were currently undergoing training on borehole maintenance and a local project team has been put in place.
The Christian Aid Project Manager said although the project was a huge success, but described the incessant security challenges in the state as an impediment to the execution of developmental projects for the benefit of communities.
He also mentioned lack of volunteers and poor stakeholders cooperation as other challenges that can be addressed for the execution of better developmental projects in the state.
Speaking on behalf of all the beneficiaries, Mrs Cecilia Ogbene expressed appreciation to the organizations for coming to the aid of the poor especially at this time of economic hardship, adding that many of the beneficiaries have used the money given to them to farm and invested in various businesses