The U.S. Government has distributed N51 million grants ($167,227 at N305 per $1) to 30 non-governmental organisations in Nigeria for community-based projects.
The Ambassador’s Small Grants Programme was presented to recipients from different geo-political zones in the country on Monday by the new U.S. Ambassador, W. Stuart Symington, at the U.S. embassy in Abuja.
The small grants programme is largely funded by the special self-help programmes through the Department of State and U.S President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
Mr. Stuart said that the self-help projects have been aiding people and communities across Africa for 20 years.
With its main focus on Nigerian communities, the ambassador reaffirmed the cliché that Nigeria is the heart of Africa.
“Nigeria is the most important project in Africa and one of the most important projects in the world.
“Smart people have said if Nigeria succeeds, Africa will succeed and if Africa succeeds then the world will succeed,” he said.
He expressed delight that the grants were geared towards assisting persons and families affected by HIV and AIDS, including innovative projects that provide care and support to orphans, vulnerable children and their households.
“These community-driven grants seek to encourage communities to undertake similar activities on their own in the future,” he said.
Mr. Stuart noted that for Nigeria to grow economically, the country should not depend on others but should generate income and stimulate economic growth by focusing and developing locally made products.
The new U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria also urged the grant recipients to be accountable in the various projects they are undertaking so as to achieve positive results in their various communities.
The NGOs received grants ranging from N865,895 ($2,839) to N3 million ($9,990).
The NGOs include: Intensive Rescue Foundation International, represented by Jennifer Ogochukwu, which received N1.6million ($5,444) to construct ten squat toilets to service 734 students and 10 staff members in Ugieda primary school, Edo State; Development Empowerment Initiative, represented by Austine Ibikunle, which received N1.3million ($4,527) for health promotion and household economic strengthening for OVC care; and Hope Yet Welfare Foundation, represented by Bulus Bature, which received N1.5million ($5,000) for construction of classrooms and VIP toilets for OVC in a community in Kaduna, amongst others.
The grants are expected to benefit more than 160,000 men, women and children in Nigeria.
The projects in Nigeria include purchasing books and equipment for schools, constructing boreholes, building and rehabilitating schools, classrooms and health clinics, and supporting groups that teach a trade.
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