UK programme has given voice to marginalised groups in Kaduna LGAs – NGO

 The UK funded Evidence for Collaborative and Inclusive Development (ECID) programme, has given voice to marginalised groups in decision-making process in Makarfi and Kauru Local Government Areas of Kaduna State.

Mrs Hadiza Umar, Executive Director, Hope for Communities and Children Initiative (H4CC), an NGO, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigerian (NAN) in Kaduna on Tuesday.

NAN reports that the H4CC implemented the programme which began in Feb. 2020 in the LGAs and would be closing out by the end of August.

The executive director said that the programme had also improved the wellbeing of most of the targeted marginalised groups namely, adolescent boys and girls, Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and poor rural women.

Umar said that the ECID programme focused on four key sectors – education, health, infrastructure, and agriculture –  to ensure effective data collection to address issues affecting the targeted groups.

According to her, the marginalised groups have learned to speak out and demand for safe spaces for them to participate in decision making and discuss harmful practices that affect them in the communities.

“Prior to the programme, the target groups in Makarfi and Kauru LGAs were not included in the decision-making process in the communities.

“There were also barriers to accessing education and health services by the groups with many of them out of school while many others do not visit health facilities and lack confidence in demanding for services.

“But the ECID programme gave them a voice after training them on advocacy, how to gather evidence, identify community leaders, government officials, engage them and demand for services and space in decision making.

“We are also happy that a platform has been created in the communities for poor women, adolescent boys and girls and PWDs to report any form of exclusion, marginalisation, exploitation and violence,” she said.

The H4CC executive director added that the NGO also identified Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Champions to strengthen community mobilisation and efforts at addressing the plight of the marginalised groups.

According to her, the programme also facilitated the setting up of sports clubs and a platform for the youths, community leaders and government officials to meet and discuss issues of concerns.

She disclosed that the clubs were provided with kits while a novelty football match was organised as part of activities for the closeout of the ECID programme.

“The novelty match brought community members, leaders, government officials and the marginalised groups together to interact and socialize.

“This encouraged the adolescent girls to also demand for women football and volleyball teams and so far, football teams have been created for the girls.

“We have also linked the poor rural women and young girls to primary healthcare centers where they are being enlightened and sensitized on sexual and reproductive health and access to commodities,” she said.

Umar added that following series of advocacies across 11 wards, Kauru local council had pledged to support 15 women with N10,000 each for three months for them to start up businesses that would improve their livelihoods.

NAN reports that the ECID programme was designed to reduce poverty and improve the wellbeing of more than 600,000 marginalised people in Kaduna and Anambra states. (NAN)