ABUJA – The U.S Agency for International Development (USAID) Monday pledged its support to promote policies for orphans and vulnerable children in Nigeria.
Its Mission Director, Mr Michael Harvey, said this at the Community-Based support for Orphans and Vulnerable Children Project Dissemination Meeting in Abuja.
Harvey added that the challenges faced by such children were enormous.
He said the country still faced the challenge of HIV and AIDS, stressing that the epidemic had left so many children as orphaned and vulnerable.
“We certainly will stay involved in the issue of the orphans and vulnerable children and will provide support to Nigerian government and those who are trying to deal with this very difficult issue.
“The bothering issues with orphans and vulnerable children is going to continue to be a challenge in Nigeria for a while, so we will stay involved and work with other states.’’
The director commended the project organisers for helping local communities to handle the issues of orphans and vulnerable children in a sustainable manner without the involvement of partners.
Earlier, Hajiya Zainab Maina, Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, commended partners for their intervention programmes for the orphans and vulnerable children.
Maina, represented by Hajiya Rabi Kaladima, Director of Child Development, gave the assurance that the ministry would set up standards to improve their welfare.
Similarly, Dr Zipporah Kpamor, Community Representative of Management Sciences for Health, said the five years community-based programme was funded by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR/Emergency Plan) and USAID.
Kpamor said the project was initially targeted to reach 50,000 orphans and vulnerable children but had exceeded the target.
She said the organisers acknowledged the need to provide financial support to the caregivers of the children in order to improve their needs.
“We have actually exceeded that target of 50,000 children and 12, 500 caregivers,’’ she said.
While enumerating the challenges faced at executing the project, Kpamor said one of the critical challenges was getting acceptance by people at the communities to receive the programme.
She commended the Federal and State Ministries of Women affairs for its partnership in the implementation of the programme. (NAN)