Judex Okoro, Calabar
The poverty alleviation programme in Cross River seems to be yielding positive results as about 11, 500 households from 69 communities and vulnerable groups have benefited from the intervention scheme in the last four years.
The intervention programme is a collaboration between the World Bank and the Cross River State Community and Social Development Project, CRSSDP
The CSDP is a World Bank assisted Project that uses the Community Driven Development (CDD) model to assist poor and vulnerable communities especially in the rural areas to implement micro projects that will generate outcomes against poverty in the communities.
The Ag. General Manager of the CRS Community and Social Development Agency, Mr Fidel Udie, who disclosed this during a tour of some projects across benefitting communities, said since the the inception of the CSDP in 2015 when additional financing, several households have been given improved access to social services with the likelihood of improved life expectancy, reduced vulnerability to poverty and much more.
Udie said the support of the state government under Governor Ben Ayade made it possible to take development to the hinterlands where it is needed most.
He said the CSDP qould wind up in June 2020 and there is need to sustenain the good initiative that puts the beneficiaries on the driver’s seat of development.
Some of the beneficiaries commended the World Bank and state governement for their efforts towards poverty reduction by building schools blocks, equipping some science laboratories, construction of solar-powered boreholes and mini bridges.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Regina Monday, a teacher from Arkwa community in Yala recounted the pains and agony school children went through to access the school’s education.
“We used to teach the children under the tree which made learning difficult as sun and rain will disrupt while teaching was going on”.
Corroborating, the village head, Ogamode Inaku Wonah, said: “Parents felt reluctant to send their wards to school because of lack of good accommodation leading to reduction in pupil attendance and enrolment. But with the new building the people are now very happy and enrolment have increased.”
At Okpudu community, Yala LGA where Agency supported the construction, furnishing and equipping of science laboratory at the community secondary school, Mr Iheije Augustine Odey, a science teacher in Access Secondary School, Okpudu community in Yala, said the “student enrolment in major certificate examinations like WAEC and NECO has significantly increased.
“This was not the case before the intervention, where student attendance and enrolment in science subject was at its lowest as it was largely perceived as abstract due to inability to do practicals.”
For the Senior Prefect (Girl) of the school, Miss Ikogor Luci Anyiye, she said: “ Before now, we were very few when we were SSS 2 scienc exam, but today we are many courtesy of state’s governement intervention.”
The story was the same in Umai and Ibogo community in Biase where Enemi and Achuke Vulnerable Groups were supported with solar powered boreholes, which impacted positvely on the health of many households.
Hailing the efforts of government in this regard, a widow and chairperson of Achuke Vulnerable Group, Mrs Mary Ekpo, said: “We used to buy water during the dry season because the people were more than the water points, but now, from this our borehole, the community now buy at cheaper rate”
Another beneficiary and a member of Orimobabi Vulnerable Group in Ofambe community of Obudu, Mr Patrick Okichi, described the solar powered borehole as “the end of an era where women leave their homes as early as 3.00am and trek to the hills to get water.”
Explaining their ordeals further, Mr Okichi noted, “many a times we were beaten by poisonous snakes leaving us sick and more vulnerable. We thank the state government and the CSDP for alleviating our sufferings.
A resident at Afrike community in Bekwarra LGA, Mrs Martha Eneji, equally commended government for the construction of health centre after many years.
Martha, a nurse in charge of the Health centre, noted that “attending to patients in the night used to be very difficult without the staff quarters as nurses live very far from the facility, adding that this exposed patients, especially pregnant women, to quacks who lack the capacity to manage complications when there arose during child births.
“But with the assistance of CSDP in the construction of the staff quarters, health workers are readily available to provide services”, she stated.