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Niger Targets Poorest Communities With N1.2bn World Bank Scheme



The Niger State government has obtained N1.2 billion from the World Bank Assisted Community Service Development Project to improve the standard of living of the rural populace in the state. Abu Nmodu reports

The Niger state  government  has drawn N1.2 billion from the World Bank Assisted Community Service Development Project (CSDP)  additional funding, to help extremely poor communities and alleviate poverty amongst the rural dwellers in the state.

The  CSDP  project commenced in September 2016  in the state with 19 of the 25 local government areas of the state benefiting, covering a lifespan of five years.

According to the general manager of the Niger state  Community and Social  Development Agency,Malam Ahmed Yussuf Usman, the project employed the community driven development approach  for its interventions .

On this premise, the communities are supported to identify , plan , co –  finance , implement and monitor prioritised micro projects  contained in their community development plans.

According to him, CSDP has four component which includes , project coordination and support , LGAs and sectorial ministries capacity building , community driven investments  and support  to vulnerable groups.

He stated that the objectives was to sustainably increase access by poor people to improved social  and natural resources , infrastructure services , particularly the internally displaced  and vulnerable groups throughout Nigeria.

The general manager disclosed  that the government had so far collected N778m in addition to counter funding of N150m  in the last three years .

He explained that 29 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory  are drawing from a World Bank $140m grant to the country from which Niger state is drawing $4 million .

He said to  benefit from the programme each participating state would determine the “poorest of the poor communities” based on certain indices provided by the World bank.

He said among the indices for the projects are the level of infrastructure in the communities, including the number of educational institutions, health facilities roads and number of pupils enrolled in schools.

Similarly, he explained that for the states to draw the funds they are to counter fund the programmes with N50m every year, to which Niger state government has so far done with N150 million for the three years of the projects in the additional funding phase.

He indicated that though the project is billed  to end next year, the World Bank had given assurance that the scheme would be extended for another five years because of its positive impact on the participating communities and its ability to reduce poverty among the people.

Usman said Niger state government has the potential to draw all the  N1.2 billion, hence the state  has so far collected N778m  with 120 micro projects so far executed in 20 local governments participating in the scheme.

He  pointed out that some of the projects executed included sinking of boreholes, provision of electricity, construction of schools and empowerment of women and building the capacities of junior and senior staff of local governments.

Noting however that the execution of 48 micro projects approved by the agency for the first quarter of the year had not started, he gave assurance that the projects would start before the end of the year.

On the poverty situation in the state, Malam Usman pointed out that Agwara and Rijau were identified as the “poorest local governments in the state” stating that the richest local governments ” are the urban local governments of Chanchaga, Bida, Kontagora, Lapai and Suleja”.

Notwithstanding the fact that the projects are chiefly funded by the world bank and the  state government  counterpart arrangement, he further explained that  the communities are expected to contribute in kind or through materials  for each micro projects  and vulnerable groups.

As regards capacity and partnership building , Usman stated that the community project management committees in the 19 local government areas and 15 ministries Department and Agencies  have been trained for capacity to deliver the projects.

In the education sector, he stated that the enrolment of students have been increased by 33,311, with analysis  of 18, 435 males  and 14, 876 females , through improving the learning and teaching environment .

On health, he disclosed that 212,110 poor people classified under vulnerable  were targeted to have access to improved health care while 2, 038 pregnant women were made to attend ante/post natal services from zero at baseline.

Also on health , the General Manager stated that 5, 250 made up of 2,655 males and 2,595 females  received immunisation against child diseases at baselines.

While saying that the projects also sunk boreholes  in the communities , he added that through the projects  1, 552 households are now connected to the national grid of electricity through the interventions of CSDP.

Consequently, he disclosed that small scale businesses like welding, cell phone charging, sales of pure water and other community based  businesses have picked up, adding that the CSDP had through its road networks opened up 23 communities, even as drainages were constructed to protect 2,451 people against the threat of gully erosion.



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