Sesor Empowerment Foundation and Grooming Centre Renew Joint Support of IDPs with N10.6 Million MOU
The deplorable living conditions of Nigeria’s 2.5 million internally displaced persons appear to worsen, with the cancerous growth of insurgency causing a parallel growth in the number of displaced persons all over the country [4.5% increase in 2018]. Internal displacement disproportionately affects at-risk demographics: 80% of Nigeria’s IDPs are women and children, one in four of the children being under the age of five. In response, there have been consolidated efforts by non-governmental organisations to mitigate IDPs’ dire situation through the provision of their most-urgent needs: relief, funding and housing. Two of such organisations are the Sesor Empowerment Foundation and the Grooming Centre.
Both organisations have taken a step further in their commitment to backing IDP businesses by renewing their joint IDP Support Programme, a scheme launched in 2016. The fourth of such commitment since its launch, both parties confirmed the renewal in a Memorandum of Understanding [MOU] signed on Friday, 28th February 2020. It involves the provision of funding for 145 displaced women’s businesses in Makurdi, Benue State; and Lagos State. In addition, the MOU will support the creation of Safe Day Spaces, hubs that provide psychosocial support and livelihood services to IDPs. Through the Safe Day Spaces, the women will be trained in financial literacy and business management.
The CEO, Grooming Centre, Dr. Godwin Nwabunka, speaking at the MOU signing ceremony, said that a major goal of the collaboration between his NGO and Sesor Empowerment Foundation is to ensure the smooth and gradual integration of IDPs into the larger society through the provision of seed money to set up new lives for themselves
“What we are looking at this point in time is to see how we can fully reintegrate the displaced into society. Part of doing this is giving them the option of them becoming full members of Grooming Centre where they can access more structured support for themselves, their businesses and families as they resume their normal lives.” Dr. Nwabunka said.
“As you know, being displaced is a horrible experience. As a refugee, all of a sudden, you lose all your dignity, whether you are a nurse or a doctor or a businessman and you depend on support to eat.”
Dr. Nwabunka expressed the hope that Nigerians will not be internally displaced for too long.
“We know IDPs are sometimes discriminated against but no one will be an IDP forever.”
Dr. Nwabunka also reflected on the intervention efforts of the collaboration which was entering its fifth year, stating that there was a need for an impact assessment.
Also present at the MOU signing ceremony, the Executive Director of Sesor Empowerment Foundation, Ms. Ier Jonathan-Ichaver, admitted that the programme has not gone without facing challenges. According to her, helping the displaced women establish lives in the larger society with limited resources and getting stable housing have been obstacles to overcome.
However, she was pleased to announce that the programme was already achieving its desired goals: one of the IDP women rehabilitated by Sesor had joined the Grooming Centre as a member.
“She had some money saved up from her business but it was not enough to pay for accommodation. We joined with her church in helping her make up the funds she needed. At the same time, she had a health issue requiring surgery and we asked our individual donors to support – they did and the surgery was successful. She was discharged and then moved with her family out of the IDP settlement. After they moved, she said the last of her 3 children would wake up whenever it rained in the middle of the night and say, “my friends in the settlement, how are they coping? I am worried about them.” She would kneel down and say, “let’s pray that God will get them out of there the way He got us out.”
“I think that’s to say that we cannot put a price on the impact of the work we have done where a child is so developed in her compassion and empathy that she would wake up in the middle of the night, worrying about her friend because she sees the exemplary way that has been set before her, people coming in to help, and, she has learnt that compassion and empathy. Who knows what she will grow up to do with the inspiration provided by Grooming, Sesor, the church and so many others who have supported IDPs over the years?”
Since Growth Centre and Sesor Empowerment Centre began their partnership, over N30 million has been dedicated to providing relief for over 1,000 IDPs across eight states and rehabilitative care for over 150 female IDPs and their families in Lagos and Benue states.