By Joy Odor
Christian Aid and the UK Government are to supporting the management of the spread of coronavirus to improve the wellbeing of the hardest to reach communities, vulnerable households and IDPS in Benue, Borno and Kaduna States in Nigeria.The Country Manager for Christian Aid Nigeria, Mr. Charles Usie made this known during the lunching of: “Localised Preparedness Response to Primary and Secondary Impacts of COVID-19 on IDPS, Returnees, Vulnerable in hard-to-reach areas Of Nigeria and Afghanistan in Abuja aimed to address myths, rumours and stigma around the virus.According to him, Christian Aid will make tangible difference in the lives of the most vulnerable households, ensuring they have access to basic needs and are protected from the impact of lockdowns by distributing non-food items and providing cash transfer to those who are most vulnerable as most of their livelihoods have been affected by the restrictions.He said the project will directly be reaching over 10,000 people with hygiene and sanitation (WASH) kits, trainings and cash.Mr Usie noted that the organization will maintain high standards and transparency in the way it go about the distribution of items as model organization and accountable both to the donor and the participants.He was of the opinion that despite the restrictions, it challenging themselves to reach the hard-to-reach locations as they are committed to what they do, and promised to stand together with the most vulnerable people.The Country Manager stressed that the biggest benefit from the intervention is that some people who would needlessly suffer because of this lockdown do not suffer and because of our work in the next 5 months the households we work with will be more empowered and better off.”Funded with UK aid from the UK government, Christian Aid has launched a project aimed at supporting and empowering vulnerable households to effectively deal with the effects of COVID-19 and reduce the risk of infection.”The project, Localised Preparedness and Response to Primary and Secondary Ompacts of COVID-19 on IDPs, Returnees and Vulnerable Populations in hard-to-reach areas of Nigeria and Afghanistan (C19 NALPER) is a 5 months intervention which will run from May to September 2020, providing urgent needs to internally displaced people (IDPs), vulnerable households and the hardest to reach communities across both countries.”In Nigeria, the intervention will happen in Benue, Borno and Kaduna States, empowering the target group to sustain access to basic needs and essential health services, while also improving the capacity of community and local health systems to effectively identify and refer COVID-19 related cases in line with government protocols.”The project will improve coronavirus preparation by increasing knowledge and providing essential non-food items which are mainly sanitation and hygiene (WASH) kits.”We will also give cash to identified households to support them in cushioning the effect of the lockdown on their livelihood.”Identifying that most government interventions are urban focused leaving hard-to-reach communities even more vulnerable, the intervention will focus on 32 rural communities across 13 LGAs of Benue, Borno and Kaduna States.”The locations were selected based on their vulnerability and proximity. The specific criteria for community selection were:”They are hard to reach areas,
Presence of prevailing vulnerability-driving and triggering factors such as conflict,
Have not received any sort of palliative support from state or local government,
More vulnerable by impacts of the government measures to preventing COVID-19 spread.”We are directly targeting 2,000HH to receive hygiene kits/NFIs and cash support, 1,000 women in accessing health services, 3000HH to be trained on WASH, 60 health workers and 500 influencer who will be trained on various issues.”We will also disinfect 30 public areas and provide water for 4600HH.”Christian Aid is working in a coordinated manner with different stakeholders to raise awareness of essential information about coronavirus and to bridge the information gap.”C19 NALPER will contribute to timely and quality preparation and response to the global coronavirus pandemic among the identified participants by making available accurate information in the most suitable formats.”Material conveying key massages of basic information, prevention and strict adherence to regulations have been produced.”These messages are disseminated through local civil society organisations, community influencers such as faith leaders, and existing groups who are trusted and embedded in communities and can connect with the hardest-to-reach people.’We are using a range of techniques to share accurate, simple and consistent messaging to communities, including posters and radio messages adapted in local languages.”These languages are in Pidgin, Tiv, Idoma, Igede, Hausa, Fulfude, Kanuri, Shuari.”This approach ensures that people are hearing accurate messages on infection control from people they trust, in a way that is appropriate for them.”C19 NALPER is funded by UK aid from the UK government and is implemented by Christian Aid Nigeria in collaboration with Civil Society Organizations such as Community Links and Human Empowerment Initiative (CLHEI) in Benue State, Mercy Vincent’s Foundation (MVF) and Ekklisiyar Yan Uwa (EYN) in Borno State and Legal Awareness for Nigeria Women (LAWN) in Kaduna State.”We will carry the state and government agencies along in all the activities to ensure they are aware of this intervention and so we avoid duplication”.”We are also supporting health facilities to ensure that frontline workers have adequate personal protective equipment and training on coronavirus protocols to increase their confidence levels.”This includes general infection control and improved WASH practices.”Protection, gender, a focus on vulnerability, risk, inclusion and innovative learning will be mainstreamed on all planned activities.”Feedback and response mechanisms will be set-up to ensure we are also listening to the project participants.