At least 300 vulnerable households in four communities excluded from the distribution of the recent Federal Government palliatives in Abuja, Nigeria, have benefitted from food and non food items distributed by Actionaid Nigeria in partnership with Centre for Information Technology and Development ( CITAD).
Actionaid Nigeria Local Rights Programme Advisor, Hajara Opaluwa-Adamu said the COVI-19 palliatives worth N2.7 million was donated to complement the efforts of the Nigerian government to cushion the effect of hunger ocassioned by the lockdown in the country, following the global outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Nigerians, especially women, have been subjected to hardship in the past few weeks due to the closure of businesses, offices and restriction of movement to curtail spread of the disease.
The beneficiaries of the intervention in Tunga-Ashere, Tunga Nasara, Jiwa Tsofo and Gwalada communities in Abuja Municipal Area Councils of the FCT, each went home with a package containing food and non food items worth N9, 000.
The items included, 5kg of rice, 5kg of beans, 2kg of semovita, 4 packets(piece) of spaghetti, 25 piece of maggi star, 3 sachet of power oil, 5 pieces of noodles, 1 roll of milk sachet, 1 roll of Milo sachet, 1 roll of sachet tomato paste and 500g of salt.
Other contents of the package were a pack of sanitary pad, two tablets of washing soap and additional 20 packs of sanitary pads for young girls.
Seventy five households each from the communities benefitted from the gesture which, Adamu said became necessary to augment the Federal Government’s palliatives earlier distributed to some communities.
The Actionaid representative said in order to ensure that the most vulnerable in the communities were identified for the intervention, the communities were involved in the selection process in line with Actionaid human rights based approach.
She listed some of the criteria employed to ensure that the most vulnerable in the communities benefitted to include, households with more than eight dependents, with four being under the age of 5, women headed households and households with terminally ill relatives.
Households with any child under 5 years who is severely mal nourished or more than one child who is moderately mal nourished, households with pregnant and lactating mothers that includes any of the other criteria as well as child-headed households were considered, she added.
The Actionaid Local Rights Programme Advisor said the intervention was Actionaid Nigeria’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic which has already affected no fewer than 4 million persons across the world with over 200,000 confirmed deaths.
She said the gesture will be replicated in three other states in Nigeria.
“Everyone is aware of the current situation in the world, that is the Coronavirus pandemic and Actionaid is responding to that.
This is one of our communities where intervention is carried out. Currently, we are doing the food and non food distribution in about four states. FCT, Kaduna, Akwa Ibom and Lagos State.
“This is our day two of the distribution. All the communities we are doing this intervention is under AMAC, reasons being that we went round the five area councils where we work, we noticed that AMAC is very large, so most of our communities in the council did not get the Federal Government palliatives distributed and some communities where it get to, in some cases, it was only about 30 households that got the items distributed and the 30 households were taken by men, so it means that they are leaving the women suffering, ” she said.
“You know when you want to talk about the poorest of the poor, women and their children are more affected, so Actionaid thought it wise that in line with putting women first in all our interventions, with a little amount we can also reach some households. So in FCT currently, we are reaching about 300 households with food and non food material,” said Adamu.
Speaking on the criteria for selection of the beneficiaries, she explained: “We looked at the most vulnerables among all the communities. Even though we work in about 19 communities in the FCT, we looked at the most vulnerable and those that got less of the Federal Government palliatives with the participation of the community.”
She said sometimes in March when the outbreak was first reported in Nigeria, Actionaid Nigeria rolled out its intervention with sensitization campaigns to educate the communities where the organization is presently offering interventions, about Coronavirus, what to do to avoid infection and spread of the disease.
“Each of the 19 communities were supported with IEC materials, Microphones, sanitizers, demonstration of hand washing was done and the microphones are being switched on currently, morning and evening to play back audio recordings on the what to do, the don’ts and misconceptions of the Coronavirus around the communities in local dialect to keep the people abreast with what they are to do and what they should not do in the face of the pandemic.”
While addressing each communities during the exercise, CITAD Program Officer, Salma Abdulwaheed recalled the danger associated with not adhering strictly to the social distancing, hand washing and other guidelines to prevent infection and spread of the disease.
She advised members of the communities to take responsibility for their life and well being by avoiding gatherings and practise hygiene which is even more critical at this time.
Responding to the gesture, the village heads of the beneficiary communities commended the efforts of Actionaid Nigeria and CITAD towards improving the lives of hard-to-reach communities in the FCT.
The community head of Tunga-Ashere, Sani Yakubu said his community was very grateful for receiving the aids.
He said the items received will go a long way in sustaining the beneficiaries as they continue to observe the social distancing and lockdown order of the Federal Government.
The distribution of COVID-19 palliatives by Actionaid and CITAD in the FCT, which commenced on Thursday with Gwalada community, followed by Tunga-Ashere and Tunga-Nasara respectively on Friday, was completed today, Saturday, May 9, 2020 with the distribution of the palliatives to 75 households in Jiwa Tsofo.