From Melvin Uche, Maiduguri
Mercy Vincent Foundation and EYN Project, Maiduguri, in partnership with Christian Aid Nigeria with funding from Ukaid has disbursed N20,000 each to 1080 vulnerable households in four local government areas of Borno state.
The project embarked by UKaid through the Department For International Development (DFID) also reached 1326 households with non-food items, supported primary healthcare workers in the four local government areas of Maiduguri metropolis, Jere, Dikwa and Konduga with PPEs , carried out sensitisation to communities on COVID-19.
Speaking to newsmen yesterday in Maiduguri, Mr. Sendi Dauda, Project cash coordinator Christian Aid , said the project titled “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, is being carried out in Borno and other parts of the country.
Dauda added that partners in Borno state worked with influencers at the communities to serve as people that will do a lot of advocacy at the communities based on clusters they have formed in the communities.
“Our feedback is that the project has been impactful and the idea of the project is because of COVID-19 and impact of the pandemic on the hard to reach people, people that cannot afford daily meals per day. So what we did is to come up with this programme with funding from UKaid to see how we can support the capacity of local partners like Mercy Vincent Foundation, EYN in Borno state, local and state governments and community people.
“What we did was to provide them with cash and also support them with wash and sensitisation. Those that were doing business before now have started their businesses, while some of them used the cash given to them to buy grinding machines to sustain their livelihoods,” Mr. Dauda said.
Also speaking, Mr Palmer Okpako, the Executive Director, Mercy Vincent Foundation Maiduguri, noted that while the COVID-19 pandemic is a global challenge, certain groups are particularly vulnerable to both the disease and its secondary impact.
He said internally displaced persons ( IDPs ) are among those likely to be particularly affected by the pandemic, owing to their circumstances.
“IDPs are more at risk of contracting COVID-19 and are more susceptible to complications , owing to cramped living conditions in the camps, camp- like settings , and urban slums; poor nutritional and health status; limited access to sanitation among others,” Mr. Okpako said.
He added that many IDPs will be disproportionately affected by the economic repercussion of lockdown measures, given their already precarious circumstances and heavy dependence on casual labour or external support from host communities and humanitarian organisations to meet their basic needs.
“As such they will be even more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse ,including sexual violence,” Okpako further said.