500,000 People To Benefit From UN Support in N/East Nigeria
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500,000 People To Benefit From UN Support in N/East Nigeria

No fewer than 500,000 conflict-affected people from North-east Nigeria will benefit from a new humanitarian and development package launched by two UN agencies on Thursday.

 

The Resilience and Social Cohesion project, launched by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World Food Programme (WFP), is aimed at enhancing peace and increasing livelihood opportunities in Borno and Yobe States.

 

It is also aimed at providing education, health, nutrition, child protection, and sanitation support to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable populations in the two states.

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“This is a pathway to peace and sustainable development,’’ the UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, said.

 

Funded to the tune of 40 million euro from the German Government, the three-year humanitarian package targets children from birth up to two years of age, pregnant women, school-age children, adolescent girls, female-headed households and people with disabilities.

 

While leveraging ongoing humanitarian support in Bade Local Government Area of Yobe and Shani LGA of Borno, the UN lead agencies would also provide interventions to address drivers of conflict and fragility throughout various sectors.

 

The project would help to strengthen local governance, promote community-based social cohesion and build government partnerships.

 

“Children and other vulnerable groups will have a lifeline, and an opportunity to survive and thrive in communities where livelihood and peace building activities are present,” the UNICEF Representative said.

 

Now in its 13th year, armed conflict in the volatile North-east Nigeria – where the extremist militant group Boko Haram first surfaced – has levelled communities, destroyed livelihoods, and disrupted essential services for children and adults.

 

Also, protracted insecurity, high food prices and COVID-19 lockdowns have left more than four million people in need of food assistance.

 

The accompanying impact of violence and unrest has fueled mental health, nutrition, education and child protection concerns.

 

According to the UN agencies, 1.14 million children across the region are acutely malnourished, on a scale not seen since 2018.

 

“Conflict in any region is potential instability in the rest of the world,’’ Hawkins said.

 

“UNICEF is grateful to the German Government for supporting pathways to child survival and peace in North-east Nigeria”.

 

With a focus on building peace, strengthening governance, restoring infrastructures and providing life-saving services, it is hoped that close to 157,000 people will benefit directly and over 362,000 indirectly, across both LGAs.

 

Giving thanks for the “timely and generous support” from Germany, the WFP Deputy Country Director in Nigeria, Ms. Simone Parchment, hailed the value of the project for those “facing the peril of conflict and hunger in North-east Nigeria.

 

“In these affected states, persistent conflict, climate shocks, high food prices and reduced household purchasing power undermine people’s ability to feed themselves and sustain their livelihoods,” she said.

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(NAN)

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