Our service to humanity – Sadiya Farouk

The  Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development marked one year in office on Friday August 21, 2020. The multitasking Ministry was established by President Muhammadu Buhari to cushion the effects of hardship following prevailing humanitarian situations and social challenges in the country. According to President Buhari, the Ministry was established to institutionalize government’s  efforts towards social inclusion and response to disasters and humanitarian crisis while providing the much-needed coordination of Humanitarian interventions. Consequently, the Ministry was mandated to develop humanitarian policies and provide effective coordination of National and International humanitarian interventions, while ensuring strategic disaster mitigation, preparedness and response. The Ministry is also charged with the responsibility of managing the formulation and implementation of fair focused social inclusion and protection programmes in Nigeria. “This first one year has been an eventful, challenging and rewarding journey. Challenging because the Ministry is saddled with the responsibility of overseeing responsibilities that were hitherto domiciled in other MDAs and also providing the much-needed coordination of humanitarian interventions in Nigeria. On the other hand, it has been rewarding because when we visit the field and see beneficiaries whose lives are being changed by the federal government humanitarian interventions, it leaves us with a sense of fulfilment that we are doing something worthwhile for humanity.  OUR PARTNERS “A number of Agencies were brought under the supervision of the Ministry including NCFRMI, NEMA, NAPTIP, NEDC, SDG and N-SIP. The Ministry is leveraging on the experience and capacity of these Agencies in carrying certain functions, while providing leadership and coordination. “In spite of seemingly daunting and often demanding situations, the Ministry and its Agencies have provided humanitarian interventions and proactively developed structures to prevent and mitigate disaster, while building socio-economic resilience through the evolution of inclusive social safety net programmes. A special commendation goes to our partners in the humanitarian sector; UNOCHA, World Bank, World Food Programme, UNICEF, DFID, USAID and the EU, as well as many other local and international partners who continue to provide humanitarian assistance at great personal cost. We thank the Armed Forces, particularly the Army and Airforce who continue to provide tremendous support to the Ministry. TRAINING Our Ministry started with the incorporation of core human values, such as Trust, Integrity, and Teamwork. In realization of the fact that the human resource of any organization is the most valuable asset it has, the Ministry started with a retreat/training of all staff which held at the UN House with the support of the United Nations. Very early in our history, October 17th 2019, we marked the World Poverty Day by a road walk tagged “Walk OUT Poverty” and a community outreach at Barwa Community, Abuja. Thereafter, the Ministry facilitated the Construction of a clinic and borehole at Barwa Community through the Community Social Development Project (CSDP). We also held the first ever Civil Security Cooperation Workshop (CISEC) which gave  birth to the Civil Security Coordination Framework and other structures that will guide the humanitarian activities in the country. One of the structures that came out of the now established humanitarian action framework and guidelines is the National Humanitarian Coordination Committee which was inaugurated by Mr. President on the 19th of March, 2020   to ensure the smooth conduct of all humanitarian activities in the country. Other structures include the Humanitarian Policy Dialogue Forum which was established to provide a forum for interaction between the Ministry and all CSO’s and NGOs to review all government policies and humanitarian activities. We are also working on a Humanitarian assistance help desk to provide a feedback/complaint mechanism for humanitarian actors to report and resolve challenges that impede humanitarian activities in Nigeria. The helpdesk is a critical tool for the Nigerian Government to ensure that people who need humanitarian assistance receive it and the assistance is provided in line with international standards and the laws of Nigeria. SOCIAL INVESTMENT PROGRAMMES We have successfully continued to improve on the already existing Social Investor Programmes  that were moved to the Ministry. I must thank His Excellency Vice President Yemi Osinbajo under whose watch the Social Investment Programmes were conceived and developed. The N- Power programme has impacted significantly on the lives of Nigerians by addressing unemployment and improving the livelihood of a critical mass of young unemployed Nigerians. As at the last count,  about 109,823 beneficiaries from Batches A & B have gone on to set up businesses in their communities, underlining and highlighting the impact and importance of the N-Power programme. We have successfully exited the 500,00 Batches A and B beneficiaries and closed registration for Batch C with a total of 5,042,001 registrations received.  As we move to the selection stage,  the Ministry will employ diligence  to ensure that only duly qualified applicants are enrolled.
Sadiya FaroukWe are gratified to note that through NPOWER we have achieved a net lowering of the youth unemployment figures despite population growth. We are striving to achieve even more. The Government Enterprise & Empowerment Programme (GEEP) under the SIP is aimed at addressing the challenges of credit and financial inclusion for the over 37 million Nigerians at the base of the economic pyramid who are involved in active commercial activity, but have never had the opportunity to access loans. GEEP under the Ministry has continued to provide incremental loans of between N10,000 and N300,000 to traders, artisans, enterprising youth, agricultural workers and other micro-service providers, under its flagship programs TraderMoni, MarketMoni and FarmerMoni. Since its inception in 2016 to date GEEP has empowered over 2.3 million such micro-enterprises with interest-free loans to grow their businesses, making it the largest public microcredit program globally, as well as the most  impactful Micro-Credit Program in Africa as recognised by the African Bankers’ Awards in 2019 held in Equatorial Guinea. NATIONAL HOME GROWN SCHOOL FEEDING The National Home Grown School Feeding Programme is a joint Federal-State Program. The Federal Government provides funding, coordination and oversight and the States carry out the implementation and data generation. School feeding programmes are part of social safety nets deployed to address both malnutrition and poverty amongst low income and poor families. The program is conceived as a multi-sectoral intervention with gains in educational, health and socioeconomic outcomes. Thus far, the program is implemented in 34 States and the FCT. Total number of children enrolled on the program are 9,196,823 (NBS verified) and Total Number of Cooks -103,028. As part of the value chain, the programme has improved the nutrition and health of the children, increased school enrolment and completion, sustainable income to small holder farmers as well as stimulating growth and productivity in communities where schools are situated. Not forgetting financial inclusion as all cooks are compelled to open and operate bank accounts. CONDITIONAL CASH TRANSFER PROGRAMME The Conditional Cash Transfer Programme is aimed at responding to deficiencies in capacity and lack of investment in human capital of poor and vulnerable households. The Programme is designed to deliver timely and accessible cash transfers to beneficiary households and sets to support development objectives and priorities. The programme provides targeted monthly Cash Transfers of N5,000 to poor and vulnerable households with the sole aim of graduating them out of poverty. In the wake of the Covid 19 Pandemic, President Buhari directed the Ministry to carry out various interventions to the poor and vulnerable to cushion the effects of the pandemic. The Ministry and Agencies under it have been involved in distribution of different kinds of palliatives to the most vulnerable in the society, these include refugees and IDP’s, People Living with Disabilities, Older Persons, Trafficked Persons, Orphans, the Poorest of the Poor in Communities and other Persons of Concern to cushion the effects of Covid 19. PALLIATIVES Food stuff like Rice, maize millet, sorghum, vegetable oil, tomato paste, milk, sugar, spaghetti and other items. Four months of stipends paid at once to those benefiting from the Conditional Cash Transfer. Loans and moratorium to Trader and Market Moni beneficiaries. Take- Home Food Rations for Households of Children enrolled in the National Home -Grown School Feeding Programme consisting of rice, beans, vegetable oil, palm oil, tomato paste, eggs and salt. We have carried out one form of intervention or the other in all the 36 States of the federation. It is worthy of note that at the onset of the pandemic, the National Social Register (NSR) contained data of over 2.6 million poor and vulnerable households (with over 11 million individuals) across 34 States and the FCT. With the accelerated registration and rapid expansion, the register has as at June 30, increased to 3.7 million (equivalent to 15.5 million individuals) across 36 States and the FCT. COVID-19 The Ministry has finalized processes for the development of the COVID-19 Rapid Response Register targeting the Urban Poor, Semi and Peri – urban areas. This register will use existing databases from NCC, BVN, SMEDAN etc to synthesize these data for validation and registration. The World Bank has provided support in the finalization of the template to filter the poor and vulnerable from these databases for validation and registration. UPCOMING PROJECTS WE are working assiduously to ensure the establishment of the National Disability Commission and the take-off of the National Senior Citizen’s Centre. We appreciate the privilege to serve and are grateful for the different Persons of Concern whose lives have been impacted in one way or the other through our efforts. Today we look back with gratitude and a sense of fulfilment while looking forward with resilience, focus and a deep sense of commitment to reach more people and do more as we strive to continually improve our disaster prevention, preparedness, mitigation and response even as we create sustainable and inclusive social systems that promote human dignity in Nigeria. I commend my Colleagues in the cabinet and in the Presidential Task Force on Covid – 19 and acknowledge efforts of the health sector, humanitarian personnel and others in the frontlines of the battle against Covid-19. We are also grateful to the National Assembly and State governments who have played different roles in supporting us. I would like to thank the media, who we consider as partners and allies. My appreciation goes to the leadership and staff of Agencies under the Ministry for their dedication to duty.

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