Food Security: OXFAM, Stakeholders Review PROACT Project In Adamawa, Kebbi
“We have now over 80,000 households and over 120 communities that have been empowered in Adamawa and Kebbi States. When we say communities, it is not small villages, we are talking about communities of a size of 2,000 households.” - Constant Tchona, Country Director, Oxfam In Nigeria
OXFAM in partnership with CRUDAN and DEC has held a close-out review meeting of Pro-resilience Action (PROACT) Project to review the extent to which the overall goal and specific objectives of the project have been achieved in Adamawa and Kebbi States.
The meeting which held in Abuja on Tuesday 15 June, 2021 was to provide accountability and learning to reflect on best practices undertaken by the project; review changes and challenges encountered, and present institutional changes that have been facilitated, while exploring how such models can be scaled up across the country by other players including governments at all levels and other donors.
PROACT is a co-funded project by OXFAM and European Union slated within 2016-2020, aimed at building food security, nutrition and resilience of 35,000 vulnerable households in disaster and conflict affected communities in Adamawa and Kebbi States.
Speaking on the sidelines with journalists, Country Director, Oxfam in Nigeria, Constant Tchona said PROACT project was designed to address challenges in conflict areas and also areas facing desertification. He said the project has empowered communities on financial inclusion, farming extension services, information and knowledge to grow businesses, provide access to inputs etc.
He said; “There are many people going through a lot of suffering and challenges, and so it was important to go out there to see how they can be supported. This is actually the role of government, but the project was intended to show that there are other ways of doing, that there are roll cost initiative that could be high impact. And now when these are done, work with government, so government can take over and scale it up.
“For the past 62-64 months, this has been demonstrated on the ground. We have worked with government and the people. We are at the stage of reviewing this and handing it over to government, and see how more state governments in Nigeria can take over this. We see a good result in Adamawa and Kebbi State, where government has replicated some of these projects in 12 additional local government areas, and we expect that they cover all 42 LGAs. But beyond that, we expect other state governments to come and see what is happening in Kebbi and Adamawa states.”
On the future of the project, Tchona said; “We are not pulling out of the communities soon, we will be staying for a couple of years. The idea is to consolidate the gains that have been there on a number of fronts. One is the financial inclusion aspect that we have developed there; second aspect is the market linkage; third is how do we work with people, to mobilise the people power to further engage government to demand for better services; and fourth one is how do we support government to respond to these demands, because it takes two to tango. Communities demanding for services and government is responding.”
Speaking on the number of communities that have been empowered under the project, he said; “We have now over 80,000 households and over 120 communities that have been empowered in Adamawa and Kebbi States. When we say communities, it is not small villages, we are talking about communities of a size of 2,000 households.”
European Union Programme Manager, Temitope Omole while addressing the media said the EU is particularly delighted to see that within the last five years the PROACT project has delivered on the set objective that the project was designed.
He said; “We targeted increase in food productivity for the people at the rural communities to increase access to liquid cash because we understand that for you to deal with the problem of poverty you need to have access to consistent stream of income. More importantly when you grow more food, when you expand the capacity of farmers to do better, it important to also create market access which the project has also done.
“Going forward in terms of sustainability we will ensure that the governance of this project is taken seriously. We are very much interested in seeing that government is in the driving seat and that government is playing an active role in ensuring that they translate some of the action and policies into budgetary provisions and releases that can continue to improve service delivery at the local government and rural community level.
“We will create the food buffer zone, where we have areas where there is accessibility, areas where insecurity is not much and ensure that we create food production zones within these particular area that we call buffer zones.
“Based on the success of the PROACT, we will have extended implementation to Taraba state. Going forward in the future, agriculture, green economy will still continue to be part of the EU support to Nigeria and EU will continue to be a friend of Nigeria in development project in terms of support to government to deliver services.
Omole further stated that, “I can assure you that it is not only Kebbi and Adamawa that have the challenge of food insecurity, there are other states especially states that are very close to the Sahara Desert bordering the north of Nigeria like Kastina, Jigawa, Sokoto, there are different types of challenges based on analysis and assessment that we did we decided that we took, we decided to work in Adamawa and Kebbi.
“We need government to take active role, in Nigeria we talk about IGR that is not doing very great, if you create the opportunity and the environment for the poor to thrive, the local government we have the capacity and the possibility to generate the revenue which can then be invested back into the local government to continue with development and create services that people will buy,” he added.