BY: VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
First Lady of Cross River State and wife of governor Ben Ayade, Dr. Linda Ayade, has lauded the US Agency for International Development (USAID) for providing funding and support for upkeep of vulnerable children and their caregivers in the state through the Centre for Clinical Research (CCCRN).
She stated this in Calabar while at the CCCRN-ICHASSA 1 phase 2 Cash Transfer Launch and Orphan and Vulnerable Children (OVC) investment Case Dialogue meeting recently.
According to her, ” I appreciate the host organization for this opportunity to deliver the keynote address on this official launch of this project to 250 beneficiaries worth #40 million Naira and for us to further Dialogue on issues affecting our children and how we all could provide and sustain the impact.”
Linda said “I see great opportunity in discussing and sustaining opportunities that will improve the lives of children and other vulnerable populations in our state”.
“We may take different routes and doing different things iñ different corners of the state, but I say we are proud of the work each an everyone is doing and the achievements therein, she noted”.
She said “there need for us to provide such opportunity for our children. Doing this is not free and so all of us that are better opportuñed should pay for it. It is not just about giving money, you could give your time and together we can make a change. The more our children realise their dreams, the better for us all.”
“Doing this creates true happiness for me. Our communal lives are quickly eroding and technology and social challenges seriously affecting the communal society we all enjoyed, she added”.
Linda said CCCRN with funding from USAID is providing care to 53,125 Cross Riverians. This is a laudable initiative and we are glad with this gesture.
Also, she said, the state government is glad to collaborate with CCCRN and today’s event provides us with the opportunity to score another milestone in the effort towards effective partnership to improve the lives of vulnerable children and their caregivers in Cross River State.
The state also happy to be associated with the event making the occasion on household economic strengthening as well as social protection interventions as part of support to the vulnerable households”.
“We can make a difference by taking on projects together, redefining equality so that children have opportunity to pursue their purpose and creating communities. It is time we all define a clear strategy as individuals, as corporate entities, as government and all well meaning groups on what great work it is to make positive impact in the lives of our children, she added”.
Speaking, Dr. Peters Adekoya, (Chief of Party, CCCRN/ICHSSA 1) welcomed the guests in the two in one event, the official Launch of the second phase of CCC-ICHSSA1 project cash trañsfer to 250 beneficiaries from 15 local government areas of Cross River State and the OVC case investment dialogue.
“The project is aimed at cushioning the effect of the economic difficulties in beneficiary households which have been aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic while the Case Investment dialogue is to further deepen discussions oñ sustaining the gains of the project in the state, Linda said”.
According to him, “the Integrated Child Health and Social Services Award (ICHSSA) Lot 1 is a five year cooperative agreement fuñded by the US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief through the US Agency for International Development.”
The project he noted has provided services to about 42,132 OVC and their families ,47 out of school adolescents have been enrolled into diverse skills acquisition training, over 18,650 children provided with birth certificates..
The Cash Transfer scheme being launched today is another interventions to further enhance household economic strengthening and resilience. In phase 1, cash trañsfer by CCCRN in Cross River State, #20.766 million Naira was distributed to 519 households, from 8 local government area of the state.
He thanked the guests and beneficiaries for honouring the invitation to attend the launch.
Earlier, a press release from USAID Nigeria, tagged “integrated Child Health and Social Services Award Lot 1 is a five year project funded by the US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief through the Agency for International Development from December 19, 2019 to December 18,2024.
Its implementing partner for Lot 1 is Centre for Clinical Care and Clinical Research (CCCRN) in partership with Catholic Relief Services (CRS), alongside other local community based organizations in Akwa Ibom and Cross River States.
The goal is to ensure that Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) are cared for and protected by their households, communities, and local and state governments, to achieve a reduction in their vulnerability to HIV.
USAID called on governments to recognize child poverty and healthcare as a state and local policy priority and protect children from its most devastating effects, strengthen and expand social protection systems that support the well being of all children, especially those most at risk to HIV, discrimination and exclusion and to mobilise, allocate and improve the utilisation of public finañcial resources to deliver more equitable and sustainable social services especially for children.
The event was attended by the 18 local government chairmen, commissioners and caregivers as well as other invited guests.
Some of the beneficiaries lauded the initiators of the project saying” it has added value to their lives.”