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USAID, ARFH lauded for partnering Akwa Ibom in support for vulnerable children

By Effiong Udousoroh, Uyo on 19/08/2015

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The Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Women Affairs & Social Welfare, Dr. Glory Emmanuel Edet, has expressed the state government’s appreciation to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH), for partnering the Akwa Ibom Government in their support for vulnerable children in the state.

Dr. Edet made the commendation during the Local Partners Initiative in Nigeria (LOPIN-Region 1) for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) project stakeholders meeting, organised by USAID/ARFH, in collaboration with her ministry held at the Women Development Centre in Uyo, the state capital. She said that, prior to this time, the ministry had battled with the growing OVC problem since year 2007, describing their technical support and excellent management, as “very obvious throughout the lifespan of other projects implemented” by them.

The Commissioner, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs. Cecilia Inyang, reminded all stakeholders, of the fact that the Child Rights Law was aimed at ensuring that “every child, male or female, has the right to receive basic education, basic health, basic nutrition services and legal protection,” amongst others.

Dr. Edet, who described children as “the building blocks upon which the Nation’s future lies,” expressed the delight that the partners were working towards ensuring the wellbeing and welfare of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) in the state, thereby, guaranteeing them a secured future.

She used the forum to implore all and sundry to join hands in ensuring a secure and bright future for the children through providing integrated care and support, as well as “check the growing and unfortunate army of OVCs” in the state.

Introducing the LOPIN-Region 1 OVC Project, USAID representative, Dr. Temitayo Odusote, stated that the Project was a local partners’ initiative with the sole aim of improving the wellbeing of OVC in the state, maintaining that the Project was specifically focused on enhancing accelerated access of OVCs (with priority on those prone to HIV/AIDS), to basic services, “while their families benefit from economic empowerment interventions, to enable them to effectively perform their roles as the first line providers” for their children/wards.

Giving an overview of USAID/LOPIN-Region 1 Project in Akwa Ibom, the Chief of Party, Dr. Iyabode Olusanmi, disclosed the activity and work plan period of the Project, to be between August 5, 2014, to August 5, 2015/January to September 2015, adding that “LOPIN is inclusive in programming for orphans and vulnerable children in selected states of Lagos, Akwa Ibom and Rivers.”

According to Dr. Olusanmi, “LOPIN’s goal is to mitigate the impacts of HIV/AIDS on children and families with specific focus of improving the wellbeing and welfare of OVCs through accelerated and sustainable multi-sectoral approach,” stating the Project’s objectives to include, “improving the systems and structures at community, local government areas and state, in providing responsive care, protection and support services to OVCs in the three benefitting states, as well as improve organisational and technical capacity of local partners to offer services to OVCs and their families and to facilitate local Nigerian partners to engage more effectively with Local Government Areas, and Private Sector Partners (PPP).

Her presentation was however concluded with a reminder, that “OVCs, being our children, have the rights to survival, development and protection,” and called on stakeholders and, indeed, the general public, to “make the orphans and vulnerable children’s lives worth living.”

Also giving the activities of Family Health International (fhi360)/Strengthening Integrated Delivery of HIV/AIDS Services (SIDHAS), the State Programme Manager, Dr. Frank Eyam, stated that “the USAID-SIDHAS community interventions, ongoing in Akwa Ibom State, are in four phases of implementation, and the areas of supports are educational, psychosocial, nutritional, child protection, household economic strengthening and health.”

Source News Express

Posted 19/08/2015 05:02:08 AM


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