EKCEP: COVID-19 Response Edition | IDP camp Project - breastfeeding mothers at the workshop

EKCEP: COVID-19 Response Edition | IDP Camp Project

The EKCEP: COVID-19 Response Edition | IDP Camp Project was carried out in partnership with Sanitation Hygiene Education Initiative (SAHEI), an NGO based in Maiduguri and an EnvironFocus implementation partner. The project’s objective was to provide 100 breastfeeding mothers living in an IDP camp in Nigeria with soap for sanitation and hygiene purposes.

SAHEI’s role included the identification of an IDP camp within its service area. They were also required to successfully distribution of the liquid soaps donated by the students to the mothers. The Teachers Village IDP Camp in Maiduguri, Nigeria, was the identified beneficiary of the project.

According to the internal displacement monitoring center (IDMC), the drivers of displacement in Nigeria are multi-faceted and complex and often overlap. Drivers include:

  1. The militant Islamist group Boko Haram – triggering significant displacement in the marginalized north-east of the country since 2014
  2. Competition between pastoralists and farmers – causing tensions in the central region, culminating in significant levels of violence and displacement.
  3. Long-standing ethnic conflict between Fulani pastoralists and Hausa farmers in north-western Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara states also triggering displacement.
  4. Flooding displaces thousands of people every year across the country, which is exacerbated by climate change. In 2019, 157,000 new displacements were recorded.

By the end of 2019, about 2.6 million people were living in IDP camps in Nigeria in need of food, warmth, water, rest, safety, and security (basic needs).

The Teachers Village IDP camp in Maiduguri consists of houses (tents) in clusters, with everyone living communally in one big space. This living arrangement increases the vulnerability of the people to infectious diseases requiring that sanitation and hygiene be a priority.

The provision of liquid soap to nursing mothers in the IDP camp was crucial, especially during this coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic because soap is key to keeping the virus a bay. The gift of soap was a show of love from the students to mothers and children in the camp. According to a source working in the camps, mothers and children feel a sense of hope when gifted such gifts. To them, it signifies that there people out there that care about their wellbeing and this kindness gives them a sense of belonging, reducing the growth of terrorist tendencies resulting from living in extreme poverty.

The liquid soap distribution to the 100 breastfeeding mothers

On the day of distribution, which took place on June 25, 2020, Aisha Hamza, Executive Director, SAHEI and her team organized a workshop. Due to the social distancing requirements and available space, five sessions were done with 20 women in attendance each time. Women sat at a distance from each other. The objective of the workshop was to do the following:

  • educate breastfeeding mothers on the COVID-19 pandemic and prevention.
  • educate breastfeeding mothers on the importance of hand hygiene as a preventive measure for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
  • distribute liquid soaps to 100 breastfeeding mothers.
Video from the workshop

EKCEP: COVID-19 Response Edition | IDP Camp Project outcomes

It is excellent to know that the workshop and distribution of liquid soaps to the breastfeeding mothers at the IDP camp enabled the following:

  • awareness that mothers can keep their babies safe from infectious diseases by maintaining good hygiene through proper handwashing practices. 
  • reduce the transfer of infectious diseases between mother and child and other members of her family. 
  • awareness of the COVID-19 pandemic in the IDP camps as the women go back home to educate their family members and community. 
  • transfer of love and kindness from EKCEP children to the mothers and children in the camp understanding that the road to love is the way to peace. 

The project addressed the following UN2030 SDGs: Good health and well being (SDG 3), Gender Equality (SDG5), Access to Clean Water and Sanitation (SDG6), Peaceful and inclusive societies (SDG16), Partnership for Goals (SDG17)

About SAHEI

The Sanitation and Hygiene Education Initiative (SAHEI) is a Nigerian non-religious, non-governmental, non-political, non-discriminatory and not-for-profit organization incorporated with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in November 2014. It is an organization that facilitates, advocates and raises awareness for access to improved services among vulnerable individuals. The Organization specializes in the areas of WASH, Protection/SGBV, Empowerment/lLivelihood, Waste Management, Health and Nutrition and also supports enrolment of children to school. The Organization’s staff work all over the liberated LGA’s of Borno State.

SAHEI’s purpose is to empower and improve the health and wellbeing of vulnerable groups of people, including Internally Displaced Persons and Refugees, Orphans and Vulnerable Children, Women and Girls, Widows and People Living with Disabilities etc., regardless of their religious and cultural background. SAHEI envisions a society where the vulnerable people will access basic needs of life, developmental initiatives for self-reliance, economic sustainability, healthy living and empowered promoted. Its mission is to improve the economic stability, health, and wellbeing of the most vulnerable, through the provision of integrated and sustainable service delivery.

EKCEP: COVID-19 Response Edition was funded by the Rotary Club of Brampton, DIstrict 7080. More information about EKCEP can be viewed at www.environfocus.com/EKCEP and information about EnvironFocus can be viewed at www.environfocus.com.

Obie Agusiegbe
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