Paul Osuyi, Asaba
The fight against poverty in Cross River communities has continued unabated as Community and Social development Project (CSDP) agency has provided over 24 micro projects across 8 communities of the state.
The Community and Social development Project (CSDP), a poverty focused, pro-poor development initiative of the Federal Government is a partnership with the World Bank and state government, have intervened in several sectors aimed at reducing poverty rate the states.
Some of the benefitting communities and groups are in eleven communities across the state including Abredang community in Biase, Ovonum, Ofambe, Ngorkpu, Katchuan, Mpat Bawop, Eraru and Kubone Bette.
Some of the micro projects, seek to improve access of poor people to social services, are heath care post, health centre, solar-powered boreholes, market stores, and skills acquisition centres.
Speaking on the future plans of the agency shortly after visiting some benefitting communities across the state, the Acting General Manager of the Cross River State Community and Social Development Agency, CSDP, Mr Fidel Udie, commended the state government for always paying their counterpart funding and request for additional financing.
Udie said so far the agency has supported at least 69 Community Development Plans (CDPs) comprising 168 multi-sectoral micro projects out of which 112 have been completed and in use.
According to him, some physically challenged and widows came together and got support from the agency to construct some projects. The vulnerable organisations include Enonong in Biase local government, Ichesoka and Ekana in Obubra, Orimobabi in Obudu and Unity vulnerable groups.
He said: “As the project winds down, efforts to sustain the gains of the past with eyes on the future remains important. The state government would be expected to sustain the support to the agency.
“Supporting the agency would further empower more communities and vulnerable groups particularly in the hard to reach terrain could benefit. The benefits to the state are enormous, as many households would be lifted above the poverty line at the least cost possible.”
Calling on state government not to wind up the programme, the chairman of Ichesoka Vulnerable group in Ababene community Obubra local government area, Mr Godwin Okey, commended the agency for their prompt intervention in the area by constructing environmental friendly solar powered borehole, market stores and skill acquisition centre.
In his words, “Before the intervention of CSDP, the community was prone to guinea worm epidemic due to bad water.since this water came, the issue of guinea worm disease has not been reported again. We are very grateful to CSDP and the state government for their support”.
Also speaking, the Secretary Ekana Vulnerable group at Ovonum Community of Obubra, Mr Morhpy Lawrence Oyom, expressed satisfaction for the opportunity given to them by CSDP to construct market stores and skill acquisition centre.
Oyom recalled how the members of the group have been stigmatized since most of them were physically challenged or widowed, adding “but now we generate income from renting the stores, the monies is used for feeding and paying of our children school fees.”
Excited at the borehole provided at Ofambe community in Obudu local government area in collaboration with the Orimobabi Vulnerable Group (VG), one of the vulnerable members, Madam Ojui Felicia said: “Those of us who are blind and physically challenged have passed through difficult times until the agency empowered them with borehole.
“We sell this water to complement our living. We are very happy and plead with the government not to abandon,” she stated.
Another beneficiary and a member of the Unity Vulnerable Group, Mr John Abua, said the agency has supported their Ngorkpu community with a mini bridge that has improved access to their farmlands and also to other social infrastructure, adding “we are very happy for CSDP support.”
At Mpat Bawop Community in Boki local government area, the village head, Chief Mathias Orum, hailed the CSDP for providing solar powered water project, thereby reducing the distance covered to fetch water and reduction in water borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid.
Orum said: “Our people are very happy with this water. It is clean and good for drinking. It does not have any odour or colour as the stream in the farm roads.
“The agency also supported us with culverts which have reduced their distance to neighboring communities where they sell their farm produce.”
The village head equally called on state government to continue to fund the agency to enable them not only sustain the existing projects, but to reach out to other vulnerable communities and groups to make more positive impact.