UN Development Programme (UNDP) and European Union (EU) engaged over 600 persons displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency in environmental sanitation programme in Borno, the Head of UNDP North-East sub-office, Mizuho Yokoi, said on Thursday.
Yokoi made the disclosure at the inauguration of Sustainable Waste Management and Environmental Protection project in Maiduguri.
She said that the programme was designed to fast track community clean-up, waste management and sanitation services in the state.
She added that the project, which was being implemented with the support of the EU, focused on empowerment and providing means of livelihood to persons in insurgency affected communities.
Yokoi explained that the UN agency engaged persons affected by the conflict in emergency employment to undertake waste and drains clearance, as well as provide sanitation services in selected communities.
The UNDP official noted that sequel to massive displacement in countryside and increased population in Maiduguri metropolis, solid waste and debris from the conflict had accumulated, thereby, exposing residents to pollution and health risks.
She said “through partnership with EU, over 8 million Dollars will be invested in activities aimed at ridding the region of debris both from the conflict, reconstruction and cleaning up communities in Maiduguri, Bama and Biu local government areas of the state.
She added that “the project is part of UNDP’s early recovery initiative to resuscitate households’ source of livelihood that will sustain communities beyond humanitarian aid.
“Beneficiaries of the intervention include Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and their hosts in communities. Income generated from opportunities like this will help families to meet household needs, including feeding, medication and children’s school fees.
“Previous beneficiaries of similar opportunities have used income earned to start small businesses and support other community members.”
According to her, activities to be implemented under the project will stimulate rebuilding and resettlement processes, as well as build capacities of local institutions for sustainable waste management and create jobs for participating communities.
Yokoi commended the EU gesture, saying it would go a long way toward improved environmental protection, as well as social and economic wellbeing of displaced persons.
Mr Kurt Cornelis, the Head of Cooperation of the European Union Delegation in Nigeria and ECOWAS, said the union was implementing a three-year environment and livelihood support programme in Borno.
Cornelis disclosed that about 12,000 persons were projected to benefit from the programme in the conflict affected areas of the state.
He explained that “it is our hope that the processes and procedures of the implementation will contribute significantly to attitudinal change in caring for the environment in general.”
Alhaji Usman Durkwa, the Borno Deputy Governor, described the project as ‘timely’, saying it would provide jobs to the teeming unemployed youth, enhance waste management and control environmental degradation.
According to him, the project will be implemented through the Borno State Environmental Protection Agency (BOSEPA) and Ministry of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation Resettlement (RRR). (NAN)