The European Union-Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation Programme (EU-ACT) is spending over N4.2 billion (10 million Euros) in improving the livelihood of Nigerians at the grassroots, especially the persons with disabilities.
The EU-ACT Focal Person in Rivers, Mr Temple Oraeki, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Port Harcourt.
Oraeki spoke on the sideline of the EU-ACT meeting with Civil the Society Organisations (CSOs) involved in executing the programme targeted at the persons with disabilities in the state.
He explained that the 4-year programme which commenced in 2019 was instituting a system through the involvement of CSOs in communities across nine states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Oraeki said the basic aim of the EU-ACT programme was to strengthen the capacity of the CSOs for them to be able to deliver their mandates and become credible agents of change in society.
‘’The CSOs have very promising mandates, promising visions, missions that they carved out for themselves.
‘’But they are not able to meet up with all these visions and missions when they don’t have the capacity to deliver; this is the gap that the programme has come to fill.
“We believe that CSOs are the watchdogs of the society; they are the third eye,’’ he said.
He explained that the selected CSOs were trained for three years in accordance with the EU internal criteria and sent to the field to implement what they had learnt through their individual projects.
The EU-ACT focal person said that the grant was given to them for the implementation of the programme which was divided into three categories – the mature, developing and emerging projects.
Oraeki stated that the EU-ACT was not interested in the result per se but the process, how it had changed and what changed that contributed to the result got.
Dr Kingdom Nwanyanwu, the Executive Director, Ability Initiative, one of the CSOs, earlier commended the EU-ACT for the training.
He said that the fund the organisation received enabled it to impower 29 Deaf women in tailoring.
Nwanyanwu said the focus of his organisation was to build capacity of the Deaf and make them compete favourably with their hearing counterparts.
Cynthia Obinwanne, the head of another organisation, said that with the assistance of the ACT programme, her organisation promoted digital literacy and skills for women and girls.
Obinwanne said that 30 persons including those with disability had been assisted through the organisation’s project.
She said that the project which had rounded off, widened the scope of the beneficiaries’ businesses through online trading which was part of the areas they were trained in.
NAN reports that EU-ACT programme is working with over 200 CSOs across the 9 states – Rivers, Edo, Sokoto, Kano, Adamawa, Lagos, Plateau, Enugu, Borno – and FCT.
The programme is funded by the European Union and implemented by the British Council.