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NGOs urge Bauchi govt. to re-double efforts at checking malnutrition in rural communities




By Mohammed Ahmed Kaigama

Bauchi,  July, 25, 201 A coalition of  non-governmental organizations have stressed the need for Bauchi state government to fast-tract efforts at tackling the problem of malnutrition in rural communities across the state.

Representatives of the organizations made the call on Thursday in Bauchi at a two-day  training on the prevention and treatment of severe and acute malnutrition (SAM) in Nigeria.

Mr Solomon Dogo, Senior Programme Manager of  International Society of Media in Public Health (ISMPH), said government needed to invest in nutrition programmes to avert stunting or risk diminishing the impact of other investments in education, health and child protection.

He explained that such move would accelerate progress on nutrition, hence the suggestion to policy makers in the state on the need to do something fast.

Dogo, however said it would require the collectivity of governments, agencies, civil society, media and communities to show commitment in addressing the challenges of malnutrition.

Also speaking, Mr Edosa Oviawe, a Development Consultant stressed the need for parents to give priority to good nutrition for children.

He urged the media to hold government accountable through reportage and awareness campaign on the need to make adequate budgetary provision for nutrition programmes.

In her contribution, Dr Grace Onatu, Programme Manager of  Network for Health, Equity and Development (NHED), drew attention to the dangers of malnutrition , especially in the lives of children under five years.

She explained that achieving the targets of nutrition was possible if all partners show Ed commitment to immediately step up investments in nutrition.

“Together, we can make nutrition a priority and stunting growth a thing of the past, if really the stakeholders show commitment to the cost,” Onatu said.

She then appealed to governments at all levels to allocate a substantial percentage of their budgets to support pro-nutrition programmes and interventions, paying special attention to the most disadvantaged.

Nigeria News Agency reports that participants at the training included representatives of the International Society of Media in Public Health (ISMPH), Aisha Buhari Foundation (ABF), Civil Society Legislative Advocacy (CISLAC and Network for Health Equity and Development (NHED).


General news

Ministry to support NGOs to sensitise women on dangers of cancers



The Ministry of Women Affairs on Friday pledged to support non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to sensitise Nigerian women on the dangers of breast and cervical cancers.

The Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, made the pledge, while receiving COVID-19 protective materials from an NGO, OCI Foundation, in Abuja.

Tallen appreciated the organisation’s support to collaborate with the ministry and their selfless services in the advocacy for girls, women on cervical and breast cancers.

“The mandate of the ministry is to empower women and children resulting from crisis, humanitarian situations and indeed COVID-19 pandemic currently ravaging the world.

“I commend your efforts; what you are doing is in line with the UN advocacy for HeForShe as women cannot do it alone, we appreciate,” the minister said.

She, however, said that the ministry would continue to support the NGO morally and technically, in programming and advancing the course of women and vulnerable groups in the country.

Tallen said the ministry was committed to collaborate with all relevant stakeholders to promote welfare and rights of vulnerable groups to access preventive and quality healthcare services.

Earlier, the Head of Advocacy of the Foundation, Mr Sam Agwa, said that their visit was to solicit the support of the ministry on their promotion initiative.

According to Agwa, the initiative seeks to introduce anti-breast and anti-cervical cancer teachings into the curriculum of all Nigerian senior secondary schools.

“It also creates anti-cancer awareness for our women and children in ways that facilitate early empowerment,” he said.

Ogwa also said the presentation of anti-COVID-19 materials, including hand sanitisers, handwashing soaps and customised face masks from the OCI Foundation, was to support the ministry as the workers are gradually resuming duty.

“We also join the Federal Government and other healthcare leaders in calling on every
Nigerian to practice preventive measures including safe social distancing, regular handwashing and sanitising, wearing of face masks, and staying indoors as much as possible,” he said.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Ramadan: Jewish NGOs donate food packages to Nigerian Muslim community



The Chabad of Nigeria, on Thursday, donated food items to support the Muslim community in commemoration of the on-going Ramadan fasting.

The Chabad of Nigeria is a division of the global Jewish assistance and relief network.

The cartons of food items donated to Al-Habibiyya Islamic Society in Abuja contained rice, beans, groundnut-oil, pasta and maize.

Rabbi Israel Uzan, Rabbi of Israel to Nigeria, who presented the donation said that the items were put together in collaboration with four non-governmental organisations.

The NGOs are ChabadAid, MAG Tech System Ltd., Kings of the World and Brand Life Vision Foundation.

According to Uzan, many people through the Jewish community in France, U.S., Brazil, Israel and wherever, have a mission to give support across the globe.

“They asked us to help them with logistics, to organise the humanitarian programme and to support Nigerians in many different situations on education, food or anyways.

“On behalf of the Jewish people, Jewish religion and Jewish community, this is what we try to do here in Nigeria.

“ChabadAid try to assist during the Ramadan and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We understand there are challenges, this is why we decided to bring succour to people.

“We decided to support 770 families and 34,000 children.

“We received a call from the Jewish community in France saying they want to support additional 230 families.

“This will raise the number to 1000 cartons of food items that we are going to give to different people in the Muslim community.’’

In an interview, Imam Adeyemi Fuad, Chief Imam of the Society, who received the items commended the ChabadAid for the gesture.

According to him, our friendly interaction with the Jewish community is just starting and we are taking it to the next level.

“On behalf of the Al-Habibiyya Islamic Society and the Muslim community, we are grateful to the Jewish community.

“We appreciate the Rabbi who is passionate about working with Al-Habibiyya and working Muslims.

“We thank them and pray that religion will bring more peace to the world,’’ Fuad said.

Also, Alhaji Farouk Suleiman, Chairman of Foodbank, commended the donation by the Jewish community to promote good neighbourliness.

“This is the first time we are getting collaboration from the Jewish community and we feel happy and proud.

“This how to promote good neighbourliness.

“They felt the need to give and called us and they have also done so,’’ Suleiman said.

NAN reports that ChabadAid is a humanitarian programme of the Jewish community.

Edited By: Gregg Mmaduakolam/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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General news

COVID-19: NGOs distribute palliatives to pastoral groups, PWD in Jalingo



Fulbe Development and Cultural Organisation (FUDECO) in collaboration with Foundation for Refugees Economic Empowerment (FREE), has distributed palliatives worth millions of naira to about 250 vulnerable households in Jalingo.

Hajiya Aisha Ardo, Chairperson, FUDECO Taraba Chapter, said  on Tuesday that the palliatives were targeted at alleviating the food needs of vulnerable people affected by the COVID-19 lockdown.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that the items distributed included bags of rice, beans and vegetable oil among other food items.

Ardo said that the items were mobilised from donations made by patriotic citizens in the society.

She said it would be distributed to the People With Disabilities (PWD), Pastoral Communities, Orphanage Homes and other less privileged members in the state capital and environs.

At each of the locations, Ardo enlightened them on the measures to be taken against COVID-19.

The Chairperson who was accompanied by other FUDECO members, demonstrated the process of hand washing, correct ways of wearing the face mask and social distancing to the beneficiaries.

Ardo, a university lecturer,  emphasised that the Coronavirus was real and that all hands must be on deck to stop its spread.

At Jongore and Sibre Pastoral Communities, the herders who expressed their happiness for being carried along, said it was the first time an NGO was reaching out to them with palliatives.

Receiving the palliatives on behalf of his members, Mr Mohammed Sadiq, the state Chairman of People With Disabilities, expressed appreciation to the donors for coming to their aid at this  lockdown period.

Similarly, Hajiya Ummul Agwaru, the operator of Alheri Orphanage, with no fewer than 250 orphans, in Jalingo, said the palliatives would go a long way in addressing the food needs of  the centre.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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General news

Ramadan: NGOs to distribute food items to 250 vulnerable Muslims in Ibadan



Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Channel For Widow Relief Initiative (CFWRI) and Sunnah Foundation have partnered to assist 250 vulnerable Muslims in Ibadan, Oyo State, through provision of foodstuffs to ease their Ramadan fast.

The Executive Director of CFWRI, Alhaja Fadhilah Balogun, made this known while speaking with newsmen in Ibadan on Tuesday.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that CFWRI catered for widows and orphans through provision of basic needs such as free medical care, cash, skill acquisition, empowerment, annual provision of Ramadan food, among others.

Balogun said the 2020 Ramadan foodstuffs distribution, sponsored by Sunnah Foundation in partnership with CFWRI, would benefit 250 vulnerable Muslims in Ibadan.

“Nigeria presently is facing some difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic and at the same time Ramadan fast is ongoing.

“Sunnah Foundation deems it fit and wanted the poor to be able to fast with ease through provision of food items such as rice, beans, cassava flakes (garri) and salt as palliatives to the poor at this Ramadan period,’’ she said.

She said that the beneficiaries would be invited in batches to pick the items because of the ban on large gathering.

“After packaging of the foodstuffs, we will then invite widows from each location, apart from CFWRI members to receive them.

“Other Muslim groups such as Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN) and Wives of National Council of Muslim Youths Organisation (NACOMYO) brothers and members of selected Mosques that are vulnerable will also benefit.

“We calculated this food at the rate of three mudus of rice, three mudus of garri, 2 mudus of beans and a pack of salt, all put in a pack to cover about 250 vulnerable people around us,’’ Balogun said.

She appreciated the sponsor for adhering to the dictates of the Holy Quran and called on other wealthy individuals in the country to emulate the gesture.

She noted that God created the wealthy people because of the poor ones. 

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)







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Minister admonishes NGOs against diversion of relief materials meant for needy



The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, on Friday admonished non-governmental organisations against diversion of palliatives meant for vulnerable and needy women.

Tallen made the call while distributing palliatives items donated by the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management in Abuja.

According to her, the ministry would monitor the disbursement of the food items to ensure they get to the needy and vulnerable women within the FCT.

“We appreciate women for their resilience, patience and hardwork during this difficult period for women all over the world.

” These palliatives can never be enough to go round, but I appeal to your conscience in the name of God to ensure that they reach the target group, which are the needy and vulnerable in the communities,” the minister said.

Ms Pepsie Adiukwu, Founder, Oge Pep Empowerment Initiative, an NGO, assured the government that the food items donated would reach the target groups.

Adiukwu, said that the organisation had been sharing palliative to vulnerable and needy persons in various communities since the enforcement of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Mrs Oby Elekwa, also representing an NGO, Divine Women of Purpose Association (DWOPA), said that the palliatives would be shared to the vulnerable persons already identified by the organisation.

Elekwa, however, called on the government to also send palliatives to states that were yet to record cases of COVID-19.

“Women in every state deserve to get palliative, irrespective of whether they had recorded COVID-19 pandemic or not.

“This is because the effect of the lockdown cuts across the nation, so there are vulnerable persons across the country who also need assistance,” she said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that 72 organisations were given bags of rice,packets of pasta, bags of sugar and bales of textile materials for distribution .

Edited By: Debo Oshundun (NAN)

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Science & Technology

NGOs to assist 15,000 students to learn coding for free



No fewer than 15,000 pupils and students of 30 primary and secondary schools in Lagos State are expected to benefit from a one-month free coding education to be provided by two NGOs.

Mr Moss Uromtah, Convener, Codefest International, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Tuesday.

The NGOs, Codefest International and India Stem Alliance (ISA) are into promotion of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) innovation, particularly among children and youths.

The organisations are offering 30 free licences to schools in Lagos State, thus creating an opportunity for 15,000 pupils and students to learn coding for free.

Uromtah said that the NGOs were offering free virtual learning on Discovery Education.

He explained that ISA and Codefest were offering 30-day free virtual learning on Discovery Education to keep the children’s mind active during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

He said: “We are offering free learning opportunity of coding to keep our kids’ minds active.

“We implore you to register your children, niece or nephew, friends and neighbours for this period of time to keep them active.

“The kids will have fun as well as learn and keep their minds alert as they await schools’ resumption.’’

Uromtah said that all that was needed for the registration was for the child to send his name and grade to the codefest team.

He noted that there were other opportunities such as the 300 Iñnovation Challenge with the objective of raising 300 kids in STEM innovation.

According to him, the 300 Innovation Challenge is an ISA and Codefest initiative to raise 300 kids in STEM innovation.

“The goal is to get the kids and build products that meet social innovation through fun, learning and coding,’’ Uromtah said.

He said that there had been success stories with kids; such as a nine-year old who developed over 30 games.

He said that the challenge was open for kids between six years and above in Nigeria’s primary and secondary schools, scheduled to begin on May 27.

Uromtah said kids could submit as many projects around games, animation, Web/Mobile App etc.

He listed programming languages to be used as Scratch, HTML and Python.

Edited By: Kevin Okunzuwa/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)



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General news

COVID-19: Include Almajiri children in response plan, NGOs forum tells FG



A forum of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) under the aegis of ‘Advocates for Dan Almajiri,’ has called on the Federal Government to provide for Almajiri children in its Coronavirus (COVID-19) response plan.

A position paper made available to the News Agency of Nigeria by the forum, on Tuesday in Lokoja, said that the  inclusion was necessary to prevent possible outbreak of Coronavirus disease among the Almajiri children.

The forum of five NGOs, comprising Plan International Nigeria; Street Child; Riplington Education Initiative (REI); Almajiri Child Rights Initiatives and ActionAid Nigeria (AAN), said the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases to more than 600 across Nigeria has raised great concern.

It lauded the palliative measures being rolled out by government at various levels with support from the private sector but decried the exclusion of Almajiri children.

The Almajiri Children, the forum noted, were already exposed to poor health conditions with very high probability of contracting the virus if not adequately secured, given their situation.

“According to a 2014 report by UNICEF,  Almajiri  constitute 9.5 million of the country’s children within the ages of 3-14.

“While it is laudable that government is investing resources to maintain law and order during the pandemic, there is no evidence of special attention to issues affecting children.

“Especially, the Almajiris and other street kids, who are more vulnerable in periods of emergency which offer a supportive environment for potential predators, ” the statement said.

It described Almajiri  as itinerant children sent by their parents from far and near across the country to Quranic teachers to mentor them in Islamic religious knowledge.

It said that most times, they are left to fend for themselves and to survive through street begging and scavenging.

“The Almajiri children are far removed from all major sources of information on COVID-19 and the opportunity of parental guidance on the messages and guidelines.

“Implication of this is that they are not able to protect themselves and will not be able to observe any social or physical distancing or access medical services should they contract the virus,” It added.

The forum also called for the expansion of the social register to include the Almajiri children in the provision and distribution of food, non-food items and cash palliatives  at strategic locations close to them.

It also recommended provision of temporary shelter and proper safety, protection for children on transit in line with child protection and safeguarding principles.

The protocol according to the Forum, should be in line with the Convention on the Rights of Children, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and other conventions ratified by the country.

Edited By: Bola Akingbehin and Isaac Ukpoju (NAN)

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Lagos First Lady distributes relief materials to NGOs, less privileged



The Office of the First Lady of Lagos State, Mrs Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, says it has commenced the second phase of the distribution of relief materials to the less privileged.

Mrs Olubukonla Nwonah, the Director, Public Affairs, Office of the First Lady, said in a statement on Thursday, that the second phase was targeting Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) taking care of people with special needs.

Nwonah said that a total of 18 homes for the needy had been visited across the five divisions of the state – Ikeja, Badagry, Ikorodu, Lagos Island and Epe.

She said that the homes were given various items, including sanitisers and food packs containing bags of rice and beans, noodles, spaghetti, macaroni and semovita.

Nwonah said that the office, in collaboration with the NGOs, was working round the clock to ensure that the items got to as many people as possible, so that those in need would be comfortable, especially during the lockdown period.

She implored Lagos residents to continue to observe regular hand washing with soap, ensure social distancing and comply with the stay-at-home directive.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)


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Palliative: Ugwuanyi, NGOs, others donate to vulnerable groups in Enugu



The people of Enugu State have continued to receive gift items by the state government, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) and individuals to cushion the effect of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.

It would be recalled that the state government had a fortnight ago announced a partial lockdown arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Mathew Idu, said that no fewer than 6,000 of 50 kilogram bags of rice had been distributed to residents of the state.

Idu disclosed this on Tuesday while responding to a News Agency of Nigeria survey on palliatives put in place by state governments.

He said that Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi had unveiled the bags of rice tagged `Coal City Rice’ for distribution to the 17 local government areas of the state, churches and Persons Living with Disabilities.

Idu said that the state government distributed other items to the people including maize, guinea corn, noodles and bottled water donated by some groups and companies.

The commissioner said that the governor was doing everything possible to ensure that the people were catered for during the lockdown.

Also an NGO, Women International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) says it has donated food items to no fewer than 42 households in the state.

The Country Rep. of the organisation, Dr. Joy Onyesoh, said that the organisation also donated toiletries to 132 families in the state.

Onyesoh said that the gesture was under the organisation’s philanthropic move called ‘Citizens Rising’ in response to the lockdown.
She described the initiative as a call for citizens to support their neighbours, especially the less privileged with food and sanitary packs due to the challenges that the period had thrown up.
She however, said that the gesture had exposed her to the pitiable condition of a significant number of residents of the state who could not fend for themselves during the period.
“My observation during the visit is heartbreaking. It took away my peace. I observed that these indigent communities are being excluded from the dividends of governance.
“Most of the population depends on daily income and with the current lockdown, they have lost their source of livelihood,” Onyesoh said.
Also, the Association of Persons Living with Disability in the state has confirmed the receipt of some palliative materials from the state government.
The Representative of the association in the State Steering Committee on Open Governance Partnership, Mr Samuel Obiefuna, said the gesture was most deserved by their members who were mostly affected by the lockdown.
Obiefuna said that the gift items included bags of rice, millet, instant noodles and water.
NAN reports that an indigenous manufacturing company has donated a trailer load of Solive-Vegetable Oil and Bestie Instant Noodles to the state government.
The Media Consultant of the company, Mr Chinazom Amadi had while presenting the items to the government, said that the gesture was part of their corporate social responsibilities to the residents of the state in the face of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Meanwhile, artisans in the state have appealed to the federal government to extend the palliative including food and money to enable them cope with the lockdown.

The artisans comprising plumbers, masons, carpenters and other ancillary workers said they needed money and food for them to take care of their families.

The Ndigbo Unity Forum (NUF), a pan-Igbo socio-political pressure group, urged South-East governors to extend more palliative to the people.

The South-East governors had joined some of their counterparts in the country and the Federal Government to embark on a 14-day extension of boundary lockdown, closure of markets and stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The President of NUF, Mr Augustine Chukwudum, told NAN that South-East governors should provide more food for the already hungry masses in the zone.

According to him, we are raising this alarm because people are dying daily of hunger due to the closure of road boundaries, markets and stay-at-home orders by our governors.

“Our people are expressing reservation for the continued lockdown because of the way they governors handled the situation without providing relieves and palliatives to the vast majority of the poor while they stayed-at-home.

“The governors know that some people get their daily bread on a daily basis.

“That is why we are condemning the actions of the South-East governors because they do not have the interest of the masses at heart, while carrying out their COVID-19 check programmes,’’ he said.

Chukwudum noted that the governors by their actions and inactions had added more hardship upon the poor people in their various states, while locking up their people forcefully.

NAN reports that Enugu State has so far recorded two cases of Coronavirus in the state.

Edited By: Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)





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