By Achiever Peterson, Kaduna
The Department for International Development, an agency of the United Kingdom has spent over N12 billion on the improvement of the welfare, nutrition and livelihood of vulnerable and pregnant women and children in Jigawa and Zamfara states.
The expenditure came through an unconditional transfer programme targeting pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding children.
The Senior Advocacy and Policy Specialist with one of the implementing partners, Save the Children International, Saheed Mustapha, stated this during the ongoing Child Development and Grant Programme Social Protection training for civil society organisations and the media in Kaduna.
The CDGP is a UKAid funded social protection programme, implemented by Save the Children and Action Against Hunger that commenced in Nigeria in 2014.
During its first phase, the CDGP was positioned as a “cash plus for nutrition”, aimed at contributing to the reduction of the high malnutrition levels in Northern Nigeria, by targeting and providing cash-transfer to pregnant women and women with children under the age of two years, in selected communities of Zamfara and Jigawa states.
Now in its second phase, CDGP Phase II would focus on supporting the Federal Government and selected state governments (Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano and Zamfara) to strengthen their social protection systems, in order to contribute to a greater coverage of inclusive and accountable social protection.
Through support to federal level institutions and programmes, CDGP will also contribute to systems and capacity strengthening across all 36 states.
The ultimate aim is to ensure the existence of an enabling environment, strong systems and adequate capacity for the scale up of social protection in the country, thus contributing to the country’s poverty reduction efforts and simultaneously improving the ability, opportunity and dignity of the poor and vulnerable.
Mustapha said over 110,000 women in Jigawa and Zamfara States were captured in the first phase of the programme for 33 months.
He said that majority of the women were opportune to have accessed a N4, 000 stipend from the point of conception, while others had enrolled and started enjoying the fund from either their second or third trimester.
Mustapha however said all the women captured in the CDGP had access to the grant for the first 24 months (two years) of the child.
He stated that the second phase of the programme was specifically designed to offer technical support and policy direction to the Federal Government and Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa and Zamfara States.
Mustapha clarified that the first phase of the programme was aimed at servicing delivery to vulnerable women across five Local Government Areas of Jigawa and Zamfara States.
He said, “It is most valuable to invest in the first 1,000 days of a child which is the stage of development. About N12 billion was spent in two states of Jigawa and Zamfara with 110,000 direct beneficiaries getting N4,000 unconditional transfers for 33 months from conception to when the baby is two years.
“The 33 months is broken down into the; nine months of the pregnancy and the 24 months after delivery.”