The COVID-19 pandemic impacts food and nutrition landscape and exacerbates the functionality of existing food/nutrition systems, making support from civil society particularly important during this unstable time. For this reason, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Nigeria’s nutrition space have been at the forefront of delivering nutrition support in response to the growing nutritional needs of vulnerable households in Nigeria following the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of Civil- Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria’s (CS-SUNN) response, member CSOs under the platform of CS-SUNN have been actively involved in contributing robust nutrition support activities to households at the grassroots in Nigeria. Some of the member organizations distributed food items and personal protective commodities (face masks, hand washing soaps and hand sanitizers) recently to vulnerable groups and households in the FCT.
The organizations are Adonai Health and Development Foundation (AHADEF) in collaboration with Leapheart Foundation, Greater Life Initiative (GLI), Paul Mission and SAM Empowerment Foundation (SEF). The aim of the exercise was to increase access to food for vulnerable individuals and households in a bid to cushion the effect of acute food shortage and poor access to food materials.
AHADEF implemented the “Feed A Household Initiative” for vulnerable households (comprising of widows, orphans, women and children) within the neighboring community of Keffi, Nasarawa State, Nigeria. The foundation provided food items (Rice, Beans, Yams, Garri and Indomie) and served One Hundred and One (101) Households and Twenty-five Children (25) by the program. Greater Life Initiative (GLI) reached 26 Children in Osaze We Care Foundation in Apo-Dutse and 30 children in FACADO Orphanage Ado with food (bags of rice, cartons of spaghetti and indomie, gallons of vegetable oil, cartons of tinned tomatoes, bags of beans, crates of eggs to baskets of onions). Five households also received cash transfers of 10,000 naira each from GLI to provide food for their children.
Figure 1: A Beneficiary of Feed A House Initiative Program
Figure 2: Food Items for Feed A House Initiative to Vulnerable Households in FCT
Figure 3: Support to FACADO Orphanage Figure 4:Support to Osaze We Care Foundation
The Paul Mission “Feed a Child Initiative” saw 15 children from poor households in Jikwoyi Area of AMAC receive food items. The initiative was used by the Paul Mission to set the pace while advocating to privileged households to support vulnerable children within their households to feed. Similarly, Sam Empowerment Foundation (SEF) implemented a Community Relief Initiative in Fulani settlement at Giri, Gwagwalada Area Council of the FCT by donating food materials (Rice, Beans, Millet, Tuwo masara, Guinea corn, Spaghetti, Salt, Maggi and Sugar) and personal protective items (Face Masks, hand sanitizers and hand washing soaps) to 200 households.
Figure 5: Feed a Child Campaign Poster Figure 6: Some children in Jikwoyi who benefited
Figure 7: Cross section of beneficiaries of SAM Community Relief Initiative
A report filed in by the FCT Chapter Coordinator of CS-SUNN, Ngozika Ogbonna, reiterated the chapter’s commitment to continuously mobilize civil society to provide support for women, children and households that are in dire need of food within the period of the COVID 19 challenge. The chapter, she said, is poised to advocate for prioritization of households with higher number of malnourished and under-5 children in the distribution of the food items provided by the Federal Government for support to vulnerable households.
According to Ngozika, “FCT CS-SUNN is also using all available channels, especially the social media, to advocate for households to utilize the lockdown period for the purpose of household gardening and agriculture in order to improve their access to organic food materials at no cost”.