The federal government has deployed a humanitarian fund of $1 million received from the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) to help avert malnutrition and food insecurity in northern Nigeria.
In a press release on Thursday, the federal government said the project will be implemented by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
The fund will feed 840 food-insecure households as well as provide them with a N27,000 monthly cash transfer, the government said.
“The fund from ECOWAS was granted to the government of Nigeria from the ECOWAS Regional Stabilisation 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,” the statement read.
“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,
“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.”
Sadiya Farouq, minister of humanitarian affairs, said: “This project has provided the ministry 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.”
Siga Fatima Jagne, commissioner for social affairs and gender, ECOWAS commission, said the ECOWAS will continue to build the resilience of victims of terrorism in north-east Nigeria.
Ronald Sibanda, WFP country director, said the contribution came at a “critical time” when communities are battling the impacts of conflict and climate change.