Launched by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Program (WFP), the Resilience and Social Cohesion project will strengthen peace, increase livelihood opportunities and provide education, health, nutrition, child protection and sanitation to vulnerable populations in Borno and Yobe states.
“This is a path to peace and sustainable development,” said UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins.
Aimed at the vulnerable
The three-year humanitarian package, funded at the cost of €40 million from the German government, targets children from birth to two years, pregnant women, school-aged children, adolescent girls, female householders and people with disabilities.
While leveraging ongoing humanitarian support in Yobe State’s Bade Local Government Area (LGA) and Borno State’s Shani LGA, UN lead agencies will also provide interventions to address the root causes of conflict and vulnerability in various sectors .
The project will help to strengthen local governance, promote social cohesion in the community and build partnerships with government.
“Children and other vulnerable groups have a lifeline and a chance to survive and thrive in communities where livelihood and peacebuilding activities are present,” said the UNICEF representative.
Now in its 13th year, armed conflict in volatile northeast Nigeria – where the extremist militant group Boko Haram first emerged – has razed communities, destroyed livelihoods and disrupted essential services for children and adults.
And prolonged uncertainty, high food prices and COVID-19 lockdowns have left more than four million people in need of food aid.
The associated impact of violence and unrest has fueled concerns about mental health, nutrition, education and child protection.
According to 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,” said Mr Hawkins. “UNICEF is grateful to the German government for supporting pathways to child survival and peace in northeast Nigeria.”
Strengthening Global Goals
The program will also contribute to seven Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), namely poverty reduction (SDG-1), hunger no more (SDG-2), good health and well-being (SDG-3), access to quality education (SDG-4), gender equality (SDG-5), Climate Action (SDG-13), Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (SDG-16) and Partnership for the Goals (SDG-17).
With a focus on building peace, strengthening governance, restoring infrastructures and providing life-saving services, it is hoped that nearly 157,000 people will benefit directly and more than 362,000 indirectly, in both LGAs.
WFP’s Deputy Country Director in Nigeria, Simone Parchment, thanked the “timely and generous support” from Germany and praised the value of the project for those “at risk of conflict and hunger in northeast Nigeria”.
“In these affected states, ongoing conflict, climate shock, high food prices and reduced household purchasing power are undermining people’s ability to feed themselves and support themselves,” she said.
Against this background, Germany’s contribution will “make a major contribution to building resilience, social cohesion and peace in the affected communities”.