By Emmanuel Daudu, Abuja
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has received the sum of US$1 million in 2021 from the Government of Nigeria as part of an ECOWAS humanitarian assistance to the Nigerian Government for victims of violent conflicts in North West and North East Nigeria.
The fund from ECOWAS was granted to the government of Nigeria from the ECOWAS Regional Stabilization Fund.
The Government of Nigeria accordingly sought the collaboration of WFP in Nigeria to apply the fund for alleviating food and nutrition needs in Katsina, Zamfara and Borno states respectively.
The programme targeted 840 food insecure households (some 4,196 persons) in Zamfara, Katsina and Borno states with food assistance. The target beneficiaries receive an average cash transfer of NGN 27,000 in their prepaid bank cards or WFP SCOPE cards every month to buy their preferred food from local markets. Beneficiaries are encouraged to buy a wide range of local nutritious foods from their preferred shops.
Cash transfers have an additional advantage of stimulating local markets and agricultural production. To prevent acute malnutrition in children in the first 1,000 days of their lives, the programme also provides nutrition assistance to children 6-23 months old and to pregnant and breastfeeding women from vulnerable and food insecure households.
Some 14,070 children and 1,932 pregnant/breastfeeding women receive specialized nutritious food in the three (3) project states.In addition to providing life-saving food and nutrition assistance to vulnerable families, WFP is also using the ECOWAS donation to build the resilience of the households in the conflict-affected states of Borno, Adamawa, Yobe and Katsina.
The project will provide milling machines and training support to 603 returnees from Cameroon and displaced rural women to support them in generating some income to sustain their livelihoods.
Honorable Minister Sadiya Farouq, Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, said, “this project has provided the FMHADMSD the unique opportunity of showcasing best practices of partnership and collaboration in delivering humanitarian intervention. It has equally advanced the efforts of the Nigerian Government in touching the lives of a critical mass of Nigerians in vulnerable situations.
The ECOWAS reps., Dr. Siga Fatima Jagne, Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender, ECOWAS Commission, in her words, “In line with the humanitarian mandate of the ECOWAS Commission and in response to the Decision of the Fiftieth Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of December 17, 2016, to assist population in North East Nigeria affected by terrorism, the ECOWAS Commission in strong collaboration with the Government of Nigeria and the World Food Programme is providing humanitarian support to our populations in need in Nigeria and will continue to build the resilience of our people to bridge the humanitarian-development nexus across the West African region for a prosperous ECOWAS Community.
WFP: Ronald Sibanda, WFP Representative and Country Director said, “the Government of Nigeria’s contribution, through ECOWAS, came at a very critical point as conflict and impact of climate change continue to drive hunger in the country. In these affected states, persistent conflict, climate shocks, high food prices and reduced household purchasing power undermine people’s ability to feed themselves. WFP welcomes this contribution which underpins efforts to continue providing life-saving food and nutrition support and livelihoods assistance to those most in need in the conflict-affected states”.