From Philip Eke, Yenagoa
Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development Bayelsa State, Hon. Nengi Rufus-Spiff and Barrister Bilkisu Woyengidadiye Odoko the Special Assistant to the governor of Bayelsa State on girl-child education has commended non-government organisations (NGOs) in the state for their full support in enhancing quality lifestyle of vulnerable children in Bayelsa State.
The duo gave the commendation at the Women Affairs Auditorium during the closing ceremony of the Association of Reproduction and Family Health/Association of orphanage
and vulnerable children, Non-Governmental Organization Nigeria Global Fund round nine for orphans and vulnerable children care and support project.
The commissioner in her address asserted that Bayelsa was among the first states which benefited from this project in 2008. The project provided relief to 100 vulnerable children, from the eight local government areas in the state. These vulnerable children were enlisted
in the project by community base organisations in accordance with the guidelines from the National Plan Action on Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) and the National Standard of practice for service delivery to children in dire need of respite in the country. The project provided books, uniform sandals, and school bags, other service provided were the payment of school levies/fees, Junior Secondary School Examination, Senior Secondary School examination fees, payment of health care services, and provision of food supplements children in the project.
The project went further by providing capacity building to the Ministry’s staff and community base organization on the technicalities on Orphans and vulnerable Children (OVC) intervention, in line with international best practice. Capacity building to Community Base
Organizations included administrative empowerment, such as payment of project staff, equipment and documentation.
The capacity of the vulnerable children desk officer, the director child and the accountant were built on coordination, documentation and monitoring.
The project increased the member of children enlisted from the initial 100 to 1500 children as at the close out of the activity.
The commissioner further said the great assistance the project offered to children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, through its testing and counseling services, and the provision of free drugs and other in-come generating activities to their care givers, was commendable.
Her words: “The restoration agenda of Governor Henry Seriake Dickson is toeing the line of this project. In his education policy, books and uniform are provided to public school, secondary school examination fees are taken care off. Schools have being renovated and equipped, teachers welfare are taken care off.
“In the health sector, free health care for under five year children, renovation of health facilities are ongoing. While the community-based organizations take it from a wide service to the door step of the children. This brings the need for synergy by government, international partners and community-based organizations to close ranks and resources, towards the growth of children in the country.”
She appreciates the founders of the project, GLOBALFUND, the International Partner; Association of Reproduction and Family Health (ARFH), the network; Association of Orphans and Vulnerable Children, Non-Governmental Organization Nigeria (AONN), Family Health International 360 Degree (FHI360) and PACT- Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV/AIDS (PROMOT) among
others for their good works.
Also, Odoko while fielding questions from reporters at the event noted the
developmental strides of Governor Dickson, especially the development of the education sector, renovation of several schools and construction of new model schools,
across the state.
Odoko tasked Bayelsans to support the governor to do more positive in meeting the people’s needs and commended various civil society organisations, the Ministry of Women Affairs and other stakeholders for the unique occasion.