Save the Children International (SCI), an International Non-governmental Organisation, says over N12 billion has been spent on the first phase of the Child Development Grant Programme (CDGP).
Mr Saheed Mustafa, Senior Policy and Advocacy Specialist, SCI made this known in Kaduna on Tuesday at a CDGP Social Protection Training for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the media.
The first phase, a five-year project, was funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) and targeted at pregnancy and lactating women in Jigawa and Zamfara.
Mustafa noted that over 110,000 direct beneficiaries had so far benefitted in the two states across five Local government areas.
He said the project was aimed at contributing to improving the lives of children in their first 1000 days.
”The target in the phase one is the pregnant and lactating mothers in which unconditional cash of N4,000 monthly stipends was given for 33 months.
“Each woman gets the money from conception to delivery which is nine months and the payment continues for another 24 months when the child will be two years.
”The money is used to provide nutritional status and long term future potential of children.”
Mustafa commended President Muhammudu Buhari who introduced social protection on assumption of office in 2015 by giving to vulnerable groups as a way of alleviating poverty.
He added that the organisation decided to realign with the government’s vision by supporting system strengthening through the introduction of the phase two of the project in 2018.
He said the phase two of the project, which would run for two and a half years, would not be focusing on giving stipends to vulnerable persons but would focus on mobilising CSOs and the media to give support to system strengthening.
”During its second phase, CDGP will focus on supporting the Federal Government and selected state governments – Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano and Zamfara – to strengthen their social protection system.
“This is in order to contribute to a greater coverage of inclusive and accountable social protection.
”The ultimate aim is to ensure the existence of an enabling environment, strong systems and adequate capacity for the scale up social protection in the country, thus contributing to the country’s poverty reduction efforts,” he said.
Mrs Sheila Nkunika, Senior Social Protection Advisor, said that social protection had also contributed to an increasing demand for education.
She said this was achieved through the national school feeding programme and as well impacted on the economic reforms of the country. (NAN)