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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. 

Health Facility Assessment Report

How prepared is our healthcare system for the COVID-19 pandemic? Existing health care delivery system both in the public and private sectors were assessed through a survey labelled Health Facilities Assessment (HFA). This survey was conducted by Christian Aid partners and led by Christian Aid Nigeria in three states across 12 Local Government Areas (LGAs). The objective of the survey was to assess the existing health services profile, physical infrastructure, equipment/supplies, human resources, auxiliary services and quality of health services been rendered to the communities. This is a five-month project funded by DFID and being implemented by Christian Aid Nigeria and Afghanistan through local partners. In Nigeria the intervention is implemented by a local consortium led by Christian Aid Nigeria and four local partners: Mercy Vincent Foundation (MVF) and Ekklisiyar Yan’Uwa ‘a Nigeria (Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) leading project activities in Borno state, Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women (LANW) is leading activities in Kaduna state while Community Links and Human Empowerment Initiative (CLHEI) is responsible for Benue state.

Building Trusted Partnerships for Healthy and Resilient Communities

The health legacy project is implemented in five African countries; Burundi, Sierra Leone and South Sudan, Nigeria and Kenya. By August 2019 the project had completed two years of implementation. The project addresses the issue of gender justice, promotes equitable social norms and institutions, and improves accountability by building the agency of citizens. Evidence has shown the project to have positive impacts on lives of our beneficiaries and their communities. This includes improved resilience of families and communities, especially those in fragile and resource-challenged settings. They are better prepared in terms of ability to anticipate, identify, and respond to health risks.

Christian Aid Launches Nationwide Youth Development Fund

Christian Aid Nigeria has provided £30,000 as seed grants to six youth led/focused organisations across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria. Working in partnership with leading youth Non-Governmental Organizations, Connected Development (CODE) and YouthHub Africa, through and innovative fund approach, a nationwide Youth Challenge Fund was launched to address the marginalization of young people in governance structures by providing young people with the opportunity to deliver innovative solutions to identified challenges within their communities.  The project seeks to increase youth participation in community development and ensure youth become partners and leaders in development — where they are charged with creating a sustainable change that is measurable in their community.  Speaking during the launch, Christian Aid Nigeria’s Country Director, Charles Usie said: “The fund is in recognition of the immense capacity of young people to address some of the growing developmental challenges across communities in Nigeria, if given the opportunity and required resources. We have therefore put this in place as part of our mandate to end poverty in Nigeria.”  According to the Chief Executive of CODE, Hamzat Lawal, the government must understand the growing importance and potential of young people and consider their contribution to nation building. Lawal called for increased financing, education and technical support for Nigerian youth as this can greatly impact on the future of the country. He also urged the Federal Government to fulfil its obligation to the youth by increasing youth participation on all policies that affect young people. Through funding from Christian Aid, CODE will sub-grant the selected organisations with a total of Thirty thousand pounds for their innovation to solve some of the difficult challenges limiting young people. While many projects of this nature seek to work with young people in the urban areas, the project will work with youths who are typically marginalised, excluded and who otherwise would have limited access to participation. CODE’s project lead, Lucy James, stated that young people have some of the most promising solutions to contemporary problems and we hope to learn from this, especially from those in the grassroots who have the capacity to act, utilizing their skills and ability to improve their own lives. The Sub-grantee Organisations: Foundation for Equitable and Sustainable Human Advancement (FESHA) is a youth led disability inclusion organization focusing on Health, Advocacy, and economic empowerment. It seeks to empower people living with disabilities with information on the provisions of the law, rights and obligations of disabled persons as citizens. Justice Development and Peace Caritas [JDPC] Nnewi is a Faith Based Organization that has Youth Empowerment and Development as one of the core thematic areas of its operation. It aims to strengthen participation of youths in Government policy implementation for Communal Development and Peace Building. Women and children in support of community development initiative (WOCCI-Nig) is a national Non-Governmental Organization that seeks to provide community based programs that provide access to education, health, emotional and psychosocial services, and economic opportunities to vulnerable individuals and households. Increased resilience and sustainable livelihood of youths within project communities Hope For Family Development Initiative (HFDI) is an initiative that seeks to improve the lives of marginalized and vulnerable groups. HFDI believes that marginalized and vulnerable groups are faced with unique issues and challenges which require empowerment, skills acquisition training and better community understanding for them to cope with their exceedingly difficult conditions. Spotlight for Transparency and Accountability Initiative levitates standard of transparency and accountability in government (subnational governments) through citizen participation in governance. This project seeks to empower young people across 17 LGAs in Yobe State through multidimensional Capacity building on how to hold government to account for their spending using digital technology and improve service delivery on Health, Education and WASH Access to Learning and School (ATLAS) Initiative is creating a platform called Enriching Lives Through Education (ELiTE) to empower young girls and boys in Ikorodu LGA, aged 17-25 with essential life skills, functional skills and access to platforms for learning - ensuring access to inclusive and equitable quality education.

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.

Connecting the Voices of People across Kaduna and Southeast State

Connecting the Voices of people across Kaduna and Southeast State is an endline evaluation report for the Voice to the People (V2P) project which was implemented in Kaduna state and all the 5 states in southeast Nigeria. This document presents key findings of the successes and challenges form V2P and makes tangible recommendations for the implementation of similar governance programmes and interventions from the lessons learnt. The study was carried out in four of the project states (Anambra, Ebonyi, Imo and Kaduna States) covering 16 local government areas (LGAs) and 41 communities involving different categories - community leader, member of a community group, community facilitator and community member without a community function (i.e. an ordinary community member).

Doing Accountability Differently - Voice to the People, Nigeria

Exploring practice and results of Christian Aid’s Voice to the People Programme in Anambra State, Nigeria. Enhancing accountable governance has long been a major concern of development programming, but matching this interest with change that is both sustainable and replicable at multiple levels has not been easily achieved. Recent studies suggest that accountability initiatives will only work if they take local power relations into account, and that the limited traction attained to date could be kick-started with a strategy geared towards vertically integrated accountability. To that end, Voice to the People (V2P) has taken a power-aware approach that enabled collaboration amongst community-level, local government and state-level actors and vertical integration of advances at each stage, making it an instructive case study for replicating and scaling up effective accountability programming. Drawing on focus groups and interviews with key informants and a review of project documents, this paper reflects on the lessons that can be learned from V2P, a programme funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and implemented by Christian Aid in partnership with local organisations in Anambra State, Nigeria.

#Health4AllNaija Health Insurance Advocacy: policy briefing

Nigeria Health Watch, in partnership with Christian Aid Nigeria, convened an experience sharing meeting about state health insurance laws. This is the policy briefing from the meeting in Goshen City, June 2017.

The state of governance in Nigeria: A situational analysis of Abia, Ebonyi, Imo and Kaduna States

Including citizens in the governing processes of a nation is crucial to achieve sustainable social and economic development. This study looks at the state of governance in eight communities in Nigeria.

Improving Response to Malaria in Kaduna state - summary report

Project summary ICRAM+K malaria project in Nigeria. Funded by Christian Aid and J.C.Flowers, the two-year project was implemented in 10 communities in Kaduna State.

PPA Project Summary Report: strengthening community health and HIV response in Nigeria

A summary of achievements, challenges and lessons from the community health and HIV response in Nigeria, made possible through the funding support of UK aid via DFID's programme partnership agreement (PPA).

Approaches to Community Engagement and Voice Enhancement for marginalised People - lessons from V2P

A report on the Voice to the People project in Nigeria - our approach, achievements, lessons, challenges and future plans.

People Living Positively: south-to-south learning project on HIV (PLP S2SL)

Key findings from an end of project evaluation to scale up effective HIV care and support interventions in Nigeria.