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Co-mingling Faith and Health:

Alarmed by the health statistics of Nigerians, Christian and Muslim faith leaders are advocating for improved and accessible health services for all and contributing to the actualization of universal health coverage. Leveraging on faith leaders influence and networks remains a veritable approach to mobilize and engage community or congregational members in a sustainable way. Faith influence has also been recognized as a key element in the community health and social justice response. Therefore, Christian Aid is continuing to work closely and in partnership with NiNERELA+ and its network of faith leaders to use their influence to address critical issues that affect the poor and marginalized. The drive towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is essential to improve access to quality health services. Being a strong influence even on the health choices of their followers, faith leaders in Benue State and the FCT are being equipped to play an active role in ensuring better health outcomes for citizens. Through a 2-day technical meeting held with selected leaders in the FCT, advocacy priorities and plan for faith leaders on universal health coverage was developed. It also provided the opportunity to sensitize 22 religious leaders on UHC and the opportunities faith communities can take advantage of in supporting indigent members. The media advocacy campaigns focused on pushing for the actualization of UHC and community health insurance financing by faith leaders lends effort to reach beyond their immediate congregation. Using radio, it faith leaders explore how faith congregations can support attainment of UHC. Christian Aid is working in partnership with NINERELA to ensure that the influence of faith is harnessed to achieve improved and quality health for all.

Christian Aid Nigeria’s Covid-19 response actions

Tackling the infodemic of COVID-19 The nature of the Covid19 pandemic has brought on an infodemic that needs to be tackled as urgently and seriously as the clinical symptoms of the disease itself. In the light of this, it is critical that the public is informed by credible experts, however, in some of the states where we work, awareness creation on the virus has been pre-dominantly urban-based, thereby leaving out those in rural areas with limited access to information channels. This has presented a huge opportunity for misinformation, myths and misconceptions to drive people’s actions and reactions such as the refusal or unwillingness of some citizens to comply to the standard preventive procedures. Information equity is therefore very crucial at this point along with the promotion of health-enhancing behaviours such as proper handwashing. Given this and our niche of reaching the unreached; especially the most vulnerable and those in the most hard-to-reach areas, Christian Aid in Nigeria is bridging the information gap by targeting those with limited access to information, either because of barriers such as language or lack access to information sources or those with little or no contact with the government or other external bodies. We have adapted and continue to disseminate official COVID-19 messaging on prevention, symptoms, transmission and key facts about the virus to bridge the language and access barrier that has been identified, creating awareness and improving the knowledge of the target population on prevention measures. Produced in a variety of formats suitable for different groups such as non-English speakers (7 local languages) and non-literates, we are also targeting the elderly, pregnant women, children, people living with disability, traditional rulers, Faith groups and actors. They include audio-visuals, animations, print materials (posters and handbills) and radio jingles for varying information channels. Given the nature of the communities, efforts are concentrated on using radio, church and mosque public address systems to provide accurate information in accessible ways. Working with INERELA+ Nigeria through its state chapters and networks, we are also leveraging on the huge influence of faith leaders by facilitating the use of theological teaching on radio to guide congregation response on covid-19 and address myths and misconceptions.   Existing community platforms and networks such as Community Disaster Management and Mitigation Platform (CDMMP), Disaster Management and Mitigation Platform (DMMP), media agencies, Community Based Monitors (CBMS), partner organizations, Town Unions and COMEN have also been used for information dissemination. These already established community structures have gained the trust of their communities over the years and are key influencers in promoting new behaviours such as physical distancing and frequent handwashing.  Christian Aid and partners have also leveraged on activities such as food distribution and others to sensitise and integrate messaging. Capacity building and Social Mobilisation Through the difficult times brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Christian Aid Nigeria is supporting vulnerable households to stay safe and maintain/increase their source of livelihood.  This has been done through the strengthening of communities’ capacity for covid-19 preparedness and response in Benue State. 75 community front liners constituting of social mobilizers, Community Spokespeople, Faith Leaders, Primary Health Care contacts amongst others were selected and trained for preparedness and response actions. The preparedness training was extended to build the resilience capacity of 100 caregivers and 100 household heads by training them to produce home-made handwashing liquid soaps and sanitizers as a strategy to cushion economic hardship of the lockdown policy and to promote hygiene practices within the households. Internally Displaced People (IDP) and members of host communities in Maiduguri, Jere and Dikwa were also trained to produce soap and face masks as a livelihood boosting activity.   Adapting emergency interventions In Northeast Nigeria thousands of households still suffer from food shortage and depend on supplies from development agencies. While we continue to deliver life-saving food assistance to IDPs across different camps in Borno State, we are fully committed to the safety of those we serve even in this difficult time and in the changing context.   This is demonstrated by key mitigation strategies that have been employed. One of such is the introduction of double rationing since April. This strategy ensures that distribution exercises are reduced from a 1-month to a 2-month basis as it provides beneficiaries with food for 2 months. In addition to the adherence to social distancing during community engagements and distributions and the provision of PPE for staff and volunteers, hand washing stations have been established at distribution sites.    Long term commitments Christian Aid remains committed to ensuring that marginalised and vulnerable populations can survive the secondary impacts of the pandemic with dignity and that it does not erode the huge strides made towards drawing people out of poverty. Actions with more long-term effects have therefore include data collection and analysis of the effect of covid-19 on the livelihood of marginalised groups to influence decision-making. This was done in Anambra and Kaduna States through the Evidence and Collaboration for Inclusive Development. The C19 NALPER project also provided the opportunity for facility and household assessments, providing key data for covid-19 interventions in Borno, Benue and Kaduna States. 

Pathways to Localisation: locally led humanitarian response (Myanmar)

This Myanmar-language paper presents a synthesis of the four national frameworks into one global localisation framework relevant for humanitarian practitioners, policy-makers and decision-makers. It outlines: The notable differences between the four national localisation frameworks, and reflect the diverse contexts specific to the very different operating environments and humanitarian crises in Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria and South Sudan. A number of priority actions and areas common across the four frameworks, many of which link closely to existing localisation commitments, frameworks, and indicators which are referenced. The key areas included in all four national localisation frameworks, along with objectives, priority actions, and potential indicators.

Illicit drugs and tough trade-offs in war-to-peace transitions

Millions of marginalised people rely on illicit drug economies - often deeply intertwined with armed conflicts - for their survival. But Agenda 2030, particularly Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16, makes no mention of illicit drug economies. It is clear that the war on drugs has not worked, and it is increasingly recognised that a new, development-based approach to tackling illicit economies is needed. But at present, the evidence base to inform such policies is weak. This report presents evidence on why illicit drugs are a development issue and why they matter for peacebuilding, before discussing the problem with current approaches, and the implications for drugs, peacebuilding and development policy. Report authors: Ross Eventon and Eric Gutierrez

Giving Hope to People in Conflict

Christian Aid Blanket Supplementary Feeding Program (BSFP) project provided immediate life-saving food and nutrition assistance to breast-feeding and children under the age of five years.

Christian Aid Nigeria programme strategy: 2019-2026

An overview of the vision, mission and strategy of the Christian Aid Nigeria programme for 2019-2026. For the next seven years, we will continue Standing Together with the most marginalised and vulnerable people to ensure everyone has the opportunity to live a full life and poverty is eradicated. Our essential purpose as an organisation is to see an end to poverty, and Christian Aid Nigeria is committed to seeing this become a reality. This new strategy will guide our activities and help us tackle the power imbalance that perpetuates poverty in Nigeria.

Press release: changing the course of under-five mortality in Nigeria

Our Partnership for Improved Child Health (PICH) project in Benue State, Nigeria, closed in August 2019. Read our press release to find out what we achieved and how communities have adapted. Every year, hundreds of thousands of children under the age of five years in Nigeria do not live up to their fifth birthday due to preventable childhood illnesses such as malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea and severe acute malnutrition. Most under-five death occurs in remote, hard to reach communities where caregivers are faced with physical, social and financial barriers to access health services. Christian Aid , through this project, has empowered communities to take ownership of their own health by improving knowledge and health-seeking behaviour, giving hope in despair, and saving children under five who face imminent death due to barriers of access to and uptake of quality health services.  This project was funded by Christian Aid supporters and UK Aid Match from the UK government. 

Life-saving healthcare for Nigeria's children - UK Aid Match stories

Since September 2016, Christian Aid Nigeria has been working in four Local Government Areas, Kwande, Konshisha, Obi and Opokwu, in Benue State, Nigeria, to reduce child mortality and morbidity rates. Through our local partners Jireh Doo Foundation and Ohonyeta Care Givers, we have reached more than 300,000 children with lifesaving support from malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea through Christian Aid trained community health volunteers. The UK Aid match funded project has trained 996 community health volunteers to provide lifesaving treatment in the community, rather than relying on health centres that can be hard to reach, and care givers may not have the necessary funds to afford treatment. The programme also works through supporting and training Community Development Committee members to work with their communities to identify challenges and opportunities, and to create and deliver action plans to overcome obstacles to accessing healthcare.

Baseline Survey of Early Warning and Early Response Systems

This report is a baseline survey on the early warning and early response systems in Benue, Kaduna and Plateau States. It explains the capacity and resources available and how the project can support and strengthen the different state structures to be better responsive to any disaster especially flooding.

Christian Aid Nigeria Annual Report 2018

The very latest updates and information from our country programme in Nigeria

E4E Nigeria project: Benue State Contingency Plan 2019-2020

Coordinating Humanitarian and Emergency Response The Benue State contingency plan was developed in partnership with the state government through its Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). It identifies and defines the conditions necessary for emergency actions by SEMA as the coordinating agency in emergencies at the state and all relevant stakeholders. This one-year plan has been developed to provide a basis for coordination of humanitarian response by the Benue State Government of Nigeria in the event of a major/catastrophic disaster within the period of 2019 and 2020. The plan will be delivered through the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA). This document adopts the multi-risk approach and identifies flood, epidemic, drought, crises and terrorism as probable disasters that can cause high level impact and displacement of persons.  

E4E Nigeria project: Kaduna State Contingency Plan 2019-2020

Coordinating Humanitarian and Emergency Response This contingency plan was compiled collaboratively by stakeholders in emergency and humanitarian response in Kaduna State. The intention for this document is to have clearly outlined responsibilities and roles in case of an emergency and to initiate emergency measures and procedures to reduce the risk of loss of life and property, damage resulting from an emergency. This Contingency plan has been developed to provide a basis for coordination of humanitarian response in the event of a major/catastrophic disaster for the initial 10 days by the state government through the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) for 2019-2020. This document adopts the multi-risk approach and identified flood, fire outbreak, epidemic, communal clashes, and terrorism as probable disasters that can cause high level impact and displacement of persons. A population of 20,000 was used as the benchmark for planning assumptions. The geographical area covered the state based on identified hazards. Meteorological predictions, monitoring of dams as well as socio and ethno-religious crises mentioned by relevant agencies were used as the basis for early warnings and triggers for the probability of occurrence of the identified disasters.

E4E Nigeria project: Plateau State Contingency Plan 2019-20

Coordinating Humanitarian and Emergency Response Appreciation goes to the collaborators who developed the Plateau State Contingency Plan. This plan is a preparedness document which sets out an organised, planned, and coordinated course of action to be followed to minimise hazards. This Contingency Plan has been developed to provide a basis for coordination of humanitarian response in the event of a major/catastrophic disaster for the initial 10 days by the State Government through the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) for 2019-2020. This document adopts the Multi-Risk Approach, and identified flood, fire outbreak, epidemic, communal clashes, and terrorism as probable disasters that can cause high level impact and displacement of persons. A population of 20,000 was used as the benchmark for planning assumptions. The geographical area covered the state based on identified hazards. Meteorological predictions, monitoring of dams as well as socio and ethno-religious crises mentioned by relevant agencies were used as the basis for Early Warnings and triggers for the probability of occurrence of the identified disasters.

Accelerating localisation research summary - Myanmar-language version

Recommendations for practices that strengthen the leadership of national and local actors in partnership-based humanitarian action in Myanmar. Read the English-language version here

Myanmar: Building a Culture of Dialogue manual - English

A facilitator’s manual to guide dialogue within and between communities in conflict. In Myanmar, violence and protracted conflict – often fuelled by fear, hatred and distrust – have a strong impact on people’s lives. Many years of peace building work make us believe in the importance of dialogue as a tool to build trust and strong relationships. Dialogue provides the opportunity to share feelings, understand different points of view and reflect on situations.   For our project ‘Sagar Wine’ (culture of dialogue) in Rakhine State, we developed a training manual. In three creative and interactive modules with many visuals, participants will explore personal development, understand the dynamics of conflict and practice dialogue facilitation skills. The manual ‘Building a Culture of Dialogue’ is available in English and Burmese language.

Myanmar: Building a culture of dialogue manual - Burmese

A facilitator’s manual to guide dialogue within and between communities in conflict. In Myanmar, violence and protracted conflict – often fuelled by fear, hatred and distrust – have a strong impact on people’s lives. Many years of peace building work make us believe in the importance of dialogue as a tool to build trust and strong relationships. Dialogue provides the opportunity to share feelings, understand different points of view and reflect on situations.   For our project ‘Sagar Wine’ (culture of dialogue) in Rakhine State, we developed a training manual. In three creative and interactive modules with many visuals, participants will explore personal development, understand the dynamics of conflict and practice dialogue facilitation skills. The manual ‘Building a Culture of Dialogue’ is available in English and Burmese language.