By Philip Yatai
Kaduna – Women and Youth Awareness Empowerment Network (WOYAEN), an NGO, said it improved living standard of 1,847 orphans and vulnerable children in Kaduna State in 2017 with funding by USAID.
Dr Rakiya Shonekan, WOYAEN Executive Director, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday that the beneficiaries received basic health services, nutrition, shelter, care, education and psycho-social support.
She said that the exercise was carried out by 700 caregivers in 680 households in nine communities in the state.
The communities included Kakau, Nasarawa, Goningora, Trikania, Unguwan, Sule, Unguwan, Lusawa and Kudenden in Chikun Local Government Area of the state.
“On health issues, we provided the beneficiaries with deworming tablets, vitamin A, zinc, supplement, HIV testing and counselling, care and support and referrals, among others.
“For shelter and care, we reintegrated the orphans into families, provided clothing support and foster parenting, among others.
“We equally encouraged school enrolment and retention, particularly the girl-child and carried out awareness campaign on gender equality to fight against discrimination,’’ Shonekan said.
On nutrition, she said that the NGO had improved the capacity of vulnerable households to produce a variety of nutritious foods.
She added that the NGO also cultivated soya beans, groundnuts and potatoes to support the most vulnerable households in some selected communities.
“We equally carried out sensitisation to caregivers on the importance of adequate infant and young child feeding,” she said.
The director said that the economic status of the caregivers were also upgraded to enable them provide the needed basic needs to beneficiaries for un-interrupted development to adulthood.
She said the caregivers had also been equipped with vocational skills for income generation, livelihood opportunities and financial literacy, focusing on micro enterprise fundamental skills.
She identified the skills areas to include power of negotiation, record keeping and value addition with a view to helping their businesses.
“We also carried out series of advocacy visits to mobilise relevant stakeholders to support ongoing effort toward improving the livelihood of women, youth and orphans and vulnerable children in communists.
“We would also encourage recreational activities, life skills support and train caregivers on positive parenting, provide legal services and create gender awareness in child protection and social support, ’’ Shonekan said.