• Sunday, May 19, 2024
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US CDC empowers 734,000 vulnerable Nigerians

US CDC empowers 734,000 vulnerable Nigerians

The United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (USCDC) has empowered about 734,000 people living with HIV or affected by the scourge through its Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) interventions programme across 19 states of Nigeria.

Femi Oke, Programme Specialist, CDC Nigeria, who stated this during a media conference in Abuja explained that the Programme empowers the vulnerable group economically, by delivering child-focused, family-centred interventions that seek to improve their overall well-being.

He explained that the OVC program stimulates the creation of saving groups within communities in the benefitting states.

The savings groups are self-selected and self-managed groups of 15 to 25 individuals who meet regularly (usually weekly or fortnightly) to save, and borrow for a short period, paying monthly interest at a rate set by the group, according to Oke.

“After approximately 12 months, all savings and earnings are distributed back to group members. Loans can be taken to support emergencies within the family,” he said.

“Overall, Village Savings and Loans Associations aim to increase household financial assets and decrease household vulnerability to financial and other shocks and stresses,” he further stated.

The programme specialist also highlighted that the program utilises a case management approach which involves working in partnership with children and families to identify their needs, plan, and complete a series of actions with the orphans, vulnerable children, and their caregivers to achieve specific household goals.

Oke further highlighted the benefits of the program including financial literacy training that has helped valuable household understanding management and income generation.

“Vulnerable households are now able to meet household emergency needs and take care of their children, without depending on external assistance.

“Village Savings and Loans Association groups diversified into other local businesses and some of them are now fully registered as Cooperative and Thrift Society,” he said.

Also speaking, Dennis Onotu, the branch chief of the Continuum Care and Treatment, at the US CDC informed that the OVC programme has been able to unite, sustain and bring hope to thousands of families affected by HIV/AIDS.

“The OVC programme has been very efficient and impactful in targeting the most vulnerable beneficiaries- women and children”, he also said.

Onotu therefore expressed the commitment of the Centre to work with deserving communities through implementing partners and community-based organisations to provide services that will improve the well-being of beneficiaries.

Esther Terna, a beneficiary of the OVC program, conveyed her appreciation and recounted her journey to success. She said the programme empowered her to launch a new business, provide for her daughter’s education, and grow her existing business through the interest earned from her savings.