By; ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna
As part of efforts to help persons displaced as a result of banditry in Kaduna State in engaging in activities that would improve their lives, an NGO, Carelink Resource Foundation (CRF), will soon commence capacity building on Resilience and Coping Skills for over 2,000 persons.
The three months project which is supported by Ladies Empowerment Goals and Support Initiative (LEGASI), is expected to build the capacity of 2,175, Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) within Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps and host communities in Chikun LGA.
According to the Programme Manager of CRF, Silas Ideva, during an inception meeting of the project with Community Leaders and IDP camps coordinator for Chikun LGA, which held in Ungwan Zawu temporary IDP camp in Goningora community, a total of 25 AGYW, would be trained on resilience and trauma healing and also empowered to mentor other women in their communities.
He said each of the 25 AGYW, is expected to mentor at least one person per day for the three months the project would last, adding that another 25 women and caregivers also affected by banditry activities would be trained on improved income generation and savings using the Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) model.
At least five persons per community drawn from five communities, with each group of five, forming VSLA with another 15 persons in those five communities. as well as 25 community and religious leaders would be trained on timely response to Gender Based Violence (GBV), who would further organize sensitization on GBV to reach at least 200 persons within the three months.
Ideva, explained that “Banditry activities; unprovoked attacks in Kaduna State has resulted to forced displacement, lost in social connections, obstruction of movement and limited mobility, lack of access to fertile farm land and disruption of livelihoods among communities in Chikun LGA, was impacting on women, men, boys and girls differently.
“For women, it exposes them to greater risks of sexual and gender based violence plus abuse which could result to unplanned teenage pregnancies, while young boys are at greater risk of engaging in social vices such as rape, pilfering and pick pocketing, or even banditry activities for their survival needs all in a bid to meet their livelihood and survival needs.
“Community leaders have set up a temporary (Zawu) IDP camp in Chikun LGA; households are leaving with their hosts (in overcrowded homes-host communities), but with prolonged uncertainty and shrinking resources, the affected communities are suffering from weakening resilience and coping capacities, which can lead some of them to encounter human rights violations and Gender Based Violence.
“Persons in the camp are traumatized and often despaired. There is need for trauma healing capacity building to strengthen their resilience and coping skills towards engaging in activities that will improve their livelihood”.
The Programme Manager, added that the main goal of the project is to improve resiliency and coping skills of survivors of attacks in Zawu Community, Chikun LGA, while the specific objective is to improve resiliency and coping skills of adolescent girls and young women who are internally displaced.
He further said that the project also aimed to promote safe space by establishing support group of women and empower them on Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA), and also strengthen capacity of community and opinion leaders in the camp to respond to Gender Based Violence (GBV).At the end of Ideva’s presentation, community leaders and IDP camps coordinators at the meeting, lauded the NGO for selecting their community for the project.
Speaking on behalf of the Chief of Goningora Community, John Yusuf, Zakari Sabo, Chief of Ugwan Bije Arewa, said the entire traditional and religious leaders in the area will do all that is required of them to make the project a success.
“The project will support the lives of our people who are displaced. With the deliberation we have had with them, we are convinced that the project is in the interest of our people.
“We are going to support this project in anyway that is required of us. Any positive initiative geared towards supporting the IDPs, especially here in Ugwan Zawu, we are ready to support the project,” he assured.
Caleb Nayaro, who is coordinating all the IDP camps in Goningora area, who narrated the situation the displaced persons are going through, said the people are now living with their host communities because the camps where they used to live are no longer habitable.
According to him, the displaced persons who are majorly farmers, lost their farmlands and houses and are now paying house rent with no source of livelihood because they have no place to farm in the city where they now reside.
“Our people are actually farmers, so when they got themselves here, farming in the city became a challenge, so the youths have to look for what to do to survive.
“Government only reached out to us ones, since then, it has been NGOs and Churches. Life has not been easy, many of the youths have taken up okada (commercial bike riding), some have learnt skills, some others have to go hire land for farming because that’s the only thing they know how to do.
“You can imagine a man that’s used to harvest 400 bags of corn, is now reduced to little support for his upkeep. They were landlords in their villages, but now reduced to tenants, now living from hand to mouth. That’s where we found ourselves, but God have been faithful”. He explained.
The project, Nayaro noted, is what is mostly required to prepare them to face the future because there are a lot of things they need to that the means of doing them are not there.
“This project means a lot to us, this project is about teaching us how to fish. It is going to teach our young ones especially girls the skills that will help them for a lifetime, it also reduce poverty, reduce dependency and it will help them in taking care of themselves.
“Another thing that our youths have actually been deprived of is education. In the villages where they came from there are mission schools that are almost free, but here they have to look for a way to source for school fees.
“So with the knowledge they will acquire from this project, they will be able to raise money for their children’s fee, feed their families, pay their landlords as long as they remain here. But our prayer is that this thing end so we can return to our ancestral communities.”