The European Union (EU) has commenced the distribution of basic food items to vulnerable households in the Federal Capital Territory, in furtherance of its wider support to Nigeria’s COVID-19 response. A total of 2,157 households whose livelihoods have been most impacted by the crisis are targeted in the exercise, carried out in close collaboration with local authorities of the benefitting communities. The gesture aims at mitigating the adverse economic effects of the crisis on the most vulnerable persons.
The benefiting communities were carefully selected after a thorough needs assessment conducted by the EU and its partners. The choice of the beneficiaries and distribution of the items are being done in concert with the local leaderships of the selected communities.
A quarter (25 per cent) of the items will go to People with Disabilities (PWD); the rest will go to female heads of households and widows as well as other vulnerable households in pre-selected Abuja suburbs. Each household will receive assorted food items, including rice, beans, detergents, noodles sardines, salt, vegetable oil, tomatoes, seasonings, beverages and condiments. Also included in the over N40 million intervention is the installation of public sanitation facilities in the communities and provision of information booklets on COVID-19 to enhance public awareness on the virus.
The Head of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, who led a team for the exercise, called for solidarity to defeat COVID-19. “We are focusing on the immediate needs of the most vulnerable because they always pay the highest price when the economies are struggling,” he said. Among them, he added, are people with disabilities, women and children – with intensified risks of violence – and poor people depending on the informal sector to get food on the table every day.
The EU has been working with the Nigerians authorities and other partners to provide a swift, effective and holistic response to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Just recently, it announced a N21 billion contribution to Nigeria’s national response to the crisis, channelled through the UN COVID-19 Basket Fund. In addition, the EU has also assisted UNICEF to procure vital health supplies to provide care for infected persons while containing further spread of the virus in the country. The Nigeria authorities have already taken delivery of the supplies, including test kits, oxygen concentrators, personal protective equipment (PPE), vaccines, and other vital items.