Several of the self-help projects will assist Nigerian children to access educational facilities and acquire new skills.
The U.S. Government distributed N56.3 million grants ($352,696) to 46 non-governmental organisations in Nigeria to undertake various types of community-based projects on Monday.
The Ambassador’s Small Grants Programme was presented to recipients from different geo-political zones in the country by the U.S. Charge D’ Affairs, Marie Brewer, in Abuja.
The small grants programme receives support from the special self-help programmes through the Department of State and U.S President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
According to her, several of the self-help projects will assist Nigerian children to access educational facilities and acquire new skills.
“These community-driven grants seek to encourage communities to undertake similar activities on their own in the future,’’ she said.
Ms. Brewer said the grants would benefit more than 160,000 men, women and children in Nigeria.
She expressed delight that the projects were geared toward improving the health and living conditions of host communities and assisting orphan and vulnerable children.
The U.S official also noted that some of the projects on agriculture were tailored to help generate income and stimulate economic growth in local communities.
Chiadikobi Umeh’s Imo-based NGO, Civil Society Development Watch Initiative, received N1.4 million to provide one borehole and two toilets in Emekuku High school in Imo.
Mr. Umeh told the News Agency of Nigeria that the project would promote good hygiene and sanitation in the community, which was less than 10km from Owerri.
“I’m a young man and I will love young people in my community to live healthy.
“I observed that many young people don’t use toilet facilities in my community because they say it is very dirty and they prefer open defecation.
“This open defecation has its own adverse effects and its breed’s diseases,’’ he said.
Mr. Umeh said although two toilets and a borehole was not enough to meet the communities “defecation needs’’, it was a good start to promote sanitation in the area.
Also, Bolori Mohammed of Borno, the Coordinator of an NGO, Future Prowess Islamic Foundation School, said the low pupil enrolment in the state inspired him to seek grant to provide free education to school-age children.
Mr. Mohammed said that his NGO received N1.6 million ($9,816 ) to provide school desks and chairs for orphan and vulnerable children.
“Many people cannot send their children to school in Borno and it is worse for orphans, and the insurgency in the area have not helped the already low education enrolment.
“The Boko Haram crisis have forced more children out of school and this has motivated us to do more to provide free and quality education for our children,’’ he said.
Another grant recipient, Onyeka Udegbunam, of Enugu-based NGO, Hope Givers Initiative, said her community-based project would train women on food nutrition.
“We observed that the lands are fertile but many women do not know how to harness with the farm produce for adequate balance diet.
“So, we intend to teach the women how to prepare what they have to feed their children and their families well to avoid malnutrition,’’ Ms. Udegbunam said.
The Enugu-based NGO received N708,000 ($4,294) for the project, which also includes education and training on HIV.