By George Okoh in Makurdi
The Sustainable Mechanism for Improving Livelihoods and Household Empowerment (SMILE) project in conjunction with ActionAid Nigeria has embarked on a project to scale-up care and support services for about 350,000 Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) in Benue and Nasarawa states.
While there are over 3 million OVCs in the two states, SMILE is also targeting about 125 households in 17 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the two states in the next four years.
The Organisation Development Director, SMILE programme, Anselm Nwoke, disclosed this in his opening speech at a Budget Analysis and Advocacy training for stakeholders on the budgetary processes held recently in Otukpo LGA of Benue state.
According to him, the organisation embarked on the project following an agreement entered into with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Nwoke said children in 50 per cent of LGAs in each of the two states would directly “benefit from improved state-level capacity”.
A breakdown of the figures showed that 249,746 children are expected to be targeted in Benue, while 71,678 children are expected to benefit from the project in Nasarawa.
There were about 25 participants from the two states, among them lawmakers, ministry officials, the media and civil society.