09 Aug Sustaining Service Delivery and Building Family Resilience amidst COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 global pandemic has led to an increase in the mental, economic and, social burden on Nigeria’s vulnerable population, due to inadequate preparedness and the resultant impact of the pandemic on the livelihood of the most vulnerable families and their children.
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the country’s inadequate preparedness level to respond to a public health crisis of such magnitude. This increased the burden on the already poor population due to lockdown restrictions. The situation also disrupted education especially for the most vulnerable children and youths and increased the risk of abuse for children, youth and girls/women during the lockdown period.
At SOS Children’s Villages in Nigeria, we adopted a community-based, integrated programme response approach to improve the living conditions of the target group; through the provision of economic palliative support, livelihood recovery, and protection initiatives. Our goal was to cushion the impact of the pandemic which had threatened the food security of the target group and to strengthen these vulnerable families’ resilience and recovery from the effect of the crisis.
At the peak of the pandemic mid-2020, SOS CVN began the implementation of various interventions for in each of our six (6) existing programme locations (Lagos, Ogun, FCT-Abuja, Edo, Plateau, Borno) to achieve improved preparedness and prevention against the spread of Corona through provision of the necessary protective, hygiene, dignity and nutrition support to the most vulnerable population; improved family strengthening measures in project locations through the provision of necessary livelihood recovery support to those most affected by Coronavirus and improved psychosocial support for children and families and child protection through online counselling. These interventions were anchored on our COVID-19 Emergency Response Project focusing on the following deliverables: preparedness and prevention; family strengthening measures; psychosocial support for children and families and child protection & safeguarding.
Leveraging our strong presence in Nigeria to help beneficiaries cope with the impact of COVID-19 at the household level, SOS Children’s Villages in Nigeria, under the FS component of the ongoing Response has reached more than 6000 children and young persons in over 1000 families with food and non-food items in our 6 programme locations – Lagos, Ogun, Abuja, Plateau, Edo, and Borno. The organization has so far, supported 2,467 children and caregivers and 53 SOS Nigeria staff with mental health and psychosocial support services (MHPSS).
The technical capacity of 218 members of various community-based child protection structures in all our programme locations has been strengthened to adequately respond to child protection concerns and ensure the prevention of all forms of child abuse.
We have also optimized hygiene promotion activities to improve communities’ preparedness and prevention against the spread of the Coronavirus, reaching 463 families and 1,101 children and young persons with Hygiene kits, while 3,750 sanitary pads were distributed to 1,250 girls.
These activities are being complemented by a Social Behaviour Change mass media campaign using radio spots and Public Service Announcements across 6 States in Nigeria
As Nigeria gradually eases out of the most critical stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, SOS Children’s Villages Nigeria will continue to reinforce its programming to withstand the impact of the pandemic by offering support to vulnerable families and protecting the most vulnerable children, especially children without parental care.
Across our programme locations, we are reaching beneficiaries in our Family Strengthening Programme with food and non-food items as a means of scaling up childcare and protection measures, beneficiaries who have received support have shared the impact of the relief items.
One of the beneficiaries from the Edo state programme location spoke to members of our team on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on her family’s livelihood and the resultant mental and social strain. For Iroghama Friday, a 41-year-old mother of 6 children who was admitted into the programme in 2020, her income and livelihood began to take a downturn when the lockdown was instituted. Her small foodstuff retail business stall at the market was shut down. With her 6 children aged 16, 14, 12,10,8 and 3 years old, Iroghama found it harder to get through each day with almost no source of income.
The programme supported her family with food and non-food items to alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their livelihood, as this has become a cause for the triggering increase in family separation over the years, which also leads to a rise in the number of children without parental care. Also, the programme is helping her restart her seasonal food items retail business.
For one of our beneficiaries in Lagos state, Mrs Bola Anthony who was admitted into the programme in 2016, the programme has been a ray of hope for her family she says. As a mother of 4 children aged 16, 14, 9 and a now-deceased 6year old, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she lost her means of livelihood and sought support to feed her children.
The programme supported her family with food and non-food items including rice, beans, oil, salt, detergent, and other COVID-19 PPEs. She also received education support for her children- one of her children is placed on scholarship in Hermann Gmeiner Primary School in Lagos. She was also supported with funds to scale up her business even though she also works in a supermarket to augment what she makes from her business.