30 Aug Protecting the Nigerian Child through Economic Interventions
Every child needs someone to support and protect them as they grow. But many parents face hardships that prevent them from giving proper care to their children. Edo State like many other states in Nigeria has an unemployment challenge, especially for the teeming youth population. However, the unemployment rate in Edo State dropped from 25.1 percent in the 3rd quarter of 2018 to 19 percent in the second quarter of 2020 according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The 6.1 percent drop can be attributed to the job creation drive of the Edo government, whose job creation agency,
Edo State Skills Development Agency, is credited to have created hundreds of thousands of jobs through innovative programmes in the last three and half years.
In August 2019, SOS Children’s Villages in Nigeria launched the Reducing Child Vulnerability through Youth, Family, and Community Empowerment Project in Edo State. The Project which is an offshoot of our Family Strengthening Programme is funded by BMZ, and among other goals, aims at supporting families through community-based support structures and socio-economic integration services. Over the past 30 months, SOS Children’s Villages has offered tailored support to strengthen families in need in Uzebu and Oregbe communities, in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State, helping to keep them together. Families are empowered with the resources they need to overcome their difficulties. With strong families, children and young people can receive the care and support they need to thrive.
A component of the Reducing Child Vulnerability Project focuses on ensuring that parents and guardians have improved incomes which enables them to actively support the development of their children. Currently, over 390 families and about 2000 children and young people have benefited from various interventions and project activities that have been designed and executed in line with project objectives. In mid-February 2022, more families were supported to set up new businesses and expand existing ones to ensure family stability and protect children from multiple risk factors that make them vulnerable to neglect, abuse, discrimination, and exploitation. The beneficiaries drawn from 99 families benefitted from an empowerment initiative that aims at developing a strong support system for children to develop and grow in a positive, supportive environment.
Some of the items received by the beneficiaries include Deep Freezers, Sewing Machines, Caravans, Hair Dressing Equipment, Food Stuff, Provisions, Consumables, Industrial Cooking Equipment, Refrigerators, Power Generating Sets, etc. The items were purchased to guarantee the reinforcement of already existing small-scale ventures and the commencement of new businesses.
Evelyn Osayuwamen, a 33-year-old female resident of Uzebu community, says the entry of SOS Children’s Villages into her community has led to a radical reduction in the poverty levels of vulnerable families. ‘I had lost all hope and was frustrated from being unable to fend for myself and my family. SOS Children’s Villages found me out and today I have a fully furnished hairdressing saloon to make a living from’, says Osayuwamen. Osayuwamen was among the beneficiaries who were supported to commence a new business. The viability of her business idea and requisite skills were assessed and she was provided technical guidance to enhance the idea and develop a growth plan.
Another benefitting community member, Joy Oamen, described how tough it was to trade using trays and hawking from one street corner to another amidst extreme weather conditions. ”SOS Children’s Villages Nigeria put a roof over my head, I have never seen a thing like this. I am grateful for this help. My business was moved from the street to a shop and I promise not to let them down,” she says.