TRADITIONAL RULERS AND GOVERNMENT LAUD OXFAM FOR REACHING OVER 48,000 HOUSEHOLDS WITH LIVELIHOOD INTERVENTIONS IN ADAMAWA AND KEEBI STATE
…CALL FOR CONTINUITY OF LIVELIHOOD AND FOOD SECURITY PROGRAMS IN KEBBI AND ADAMAWA
Traditional Rulers from Adamawa and Kebbi State, as well as Government representatives, have commended the Pro Resilience Action (PROACT) Project for its interventions and achievements at improving food security and livelihoods of communities in implementing States since inception in communities in Kebbi and Adamawa State.
They appreciated the efforts of Oxfam and its implementing partners CRUDAN and DEC during the annual review meeting of the project in Yola, Adamawa State which held from the 10th to the 13th June 2019.
The Annual Review Meeting was held to consider in closer details the extent to which PROACT has achieved its goals and objectives while identifying various changes and challenges in the year under review; identifying mitigating strategies and focusing on sustainability through creative engagements and influencing for the project final year. The meeting also reviewed and reflected on the level of implementation in terms of planned delivery of goods and services as well as the intended (and unintended, if available) transformative changes that the project set out to achieve across rural communities of Adamawa and Kebbi State.
Group Photo of participants at the Annual Review Meeting in Yola, Adamawa State. Photo: Oxfam/James Bigila
PROACT or Pro Resilience Action is a 4-year project funded through the generosity of the European Taxpayers (EUR 10 million) and Oxfam (1 million EURO) to build the resilience of communities battered by the insurgency and the effects of climate change in Adamawa and Kebbi States. The project started in April 2016 and will end in April 2020.
Speaking while delivering opening remarks, Constant Tchona, the Interim Country Director of Oxfam in Nigeria counted the gains and achievements of the PROACT Project, “PROACT has reached more than 48,000 rural households directly against a target of 35,000 households, this is close to 140 percent achievement before the end of the project. The 48,000 households have seen their livelihood resilience strengthened and they have been empowered to lead improved and productive lives.
Constant Tchona, Interim Country Director, Oxfam in Nigeria delivers remarks at the event. Photo: Oxfam/James Bigila
Tchona also noted that the project has built community managed food reserves in more than 8,000 rural households.
“These communities previously affected by hunger have escaped the shame of hunger and are now able to sustain their livelihood activities without having to use any negative coping strategy as PROACT provided support during the hunger season of June – September 2018. 55% of the foodstuff given to communities have been paid back into the grain bank to support themselves in the next lean season and beyond”, Tchona added.
Towards providing livestock to communities to recover and engage in livestock production, the program has empowered 6,000 households with more than 6,000 goats with improved breed of bucks; while about 4,500 households received about 49,000 chickens with improved breed of cocks.
The beneficiaries of the program have also become donors of livestock as more than 1000 beneficiaries have become donors by giving more than 1000 goats and chickens to other community members thus passing on the gifts.
The PROACT Project has lifted the living standards of the rural populace by boosting rural finance. Tchona added that through PROACT’s Village Savings and Loans Associations, a component of the project, more 2,000 Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) have been established across 70 rural communities against a target of 1,400 established which is an achievement of about 150 percent against the target.
“Together, the Village Savings and Loans Association have mobilized more than 370 million naira (about $1.2 million US dollars), Tchona added.
Tchona made a call on the Government of the implementing States of Adamawa and Kebbi to partner with the government on how the PROACT model or some components of the PROACT model can be extended to the rest of the 17 LGAs in Adamawa State and 18 LGA in Kebbi State.
“We would like to explore with you how this model can be extended to other states beyond Adamawa and Kebbi. We think this is possible and we would like to work with you day and night to make this happen” Tchona added.
The PROACT Project has created 585 VSLA groups in Year 3, making a total of 2,037 VSLA Groups since inception with 48,087 members and 55.2% women participation.
Mr. Olumide Ojo, Project Manager for PROACT Project, in his presentation to participants at the meeting also reiterated more gains of the program. He added that the PROACT Project created Inputs Revolving Funds scheme through the delivery of 138,000 bags of high quality fertilizers to more than 23,000 households against a target of 35,000 bags.
Olumide Ojo in his presentation added that PROACT has trained farmers on managing farming as businesses with impressive behavioural change.
“In partnership with ADP extension agents, PROACT has systematically brought down the extension agents to farmers ratio from about 1:1500 to 1:13 with over 2500 Lead Farmers extending extension services to their groups and communities on a weekly basis”, Olumide Ojo added.
Speaking earlier, Alhaji Ahmed Joda, an elder statesman and holder of the Commander of the Order of the Niger, Federal Republic of Nigeria (CON) deplored the state of poverty in Nigeria and commended the partnership between Oxfam and European Union targeted at rural communities and called on Government’s participation and scale up of the program in all States of the Federation towards ending poverty in Nigeria.
"PROACT should be scaled to the 36 states of Nigeria to provide a soft landing and cushion to an average Nigerian, transiting out off poverty." Alhaji Ahmed Joda said.
The Executive Director of CRUDAN, Mrs Ruth Dul reiterated the gains of the PROACT project in communities and noted that the sustainability of the program is an important factor to ensure the program continues even when development partners pull out of communities at the end of the project. Ruth Dul expressed confidence that with the capacities of beneficiaries being built via PROACT, communities will be able to sustain PROACT’s interventions
"The communities have received capacity building to PROACT TO SUSTAINABILITY even after the project roll-out" Ruth Dul added.
Traditional rulers and representatives of the Government of Kebbi and Adamawa State took turns to praise the gains of the program and pleaded for continuity of the PROACT’s model in communities as they noted that the living standards of the beneficiaries of PROACT have been uplifted such that they now invite neighbouring communities to come learn from the program and work towards replicating the program in their own communities.
BENEFICIARIES’ LIVES NOW TRANSFORMED, PLEAD FOR CONTINUITY OF PROACT
I HAVE NOW ENROLLED MY DAUGHTER IN SCHOOL
Hajia Balkisu Antaru, a beneficiary of Oxfam's #PROACT project is from a community in Birnin-Kebbi. She was trained via Oxfam's skill acquisition program, with support from the European Union in Nigeria.
"I got 20,000 Naira to produce pomade that has generated more than 30,000 from the first batch of sales of my product" said Balkisu.
She has been able to buy a cow (bull), has enrolled her daughter to school and is also an employer of labour as she has hired a local transporter and pays 2500 naira monthly as transport fare to drop off and pick up her daughter from school.
Balkisu Antaru, beneficiary of Oxfam’s village savings and loans scheme. Photo: Oxfam/ James Bigila