The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director, Anne E. Patterson, Tuesday, joined the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, to launch a new National Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) Situation Room at the ministry.
A press statement by the U.S agency said the USAID was working closely with the ministry to deliver multi-sectoral services – health, protection, household economic strengthening, and education for vulnerable children and their caregivers through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Initiative.
According to the statement, “Under the Data for Implementation (Data.FI) activity, USAID is strengthening the capacity of the ministry to monitor and improve services through development and operationalisation of effective data management systems.
“The mandate of the Ministry of Women Affairs to promote women’s equality and opportunity and protect women and children from abuse and exploitation, also cuts across all USAID programming.
“This new Situation Room is a collaboration that will help Nigeria prevent violence against women, improve resilience of vulnerable children and their caregivers, and respond to the needs of survivors of violence,” Ms. Patterson said at the launch.
The statement further said, “The new Situation Room will harmonise OVC programme reporting and optimise the National OVC Management Information System and harness the power of data to help case managers respond effectively and provide appropriate services to help these children affected by HIV in their families and communities.”
The statement noted that, “USAID works closely with the Ministry to coordinate OVC interventions within its broader child protection and women’s empowerment mandate not only to mitigate the risks of HIV, but also to support caregivers to strengthen the economic resilience of their households.
“Implemented by Palladium, Data.FI is among several USAID activities that help Nigeria provide essential social and health services to nearly 500,000 vulnerable children and their caregivers, including 13,000 children living with HIV.
“Last year, more than 19,000 beneficiaries received USAID-supported GBV services in 7,500 government and private health service providers that provided counseling on gender inclusion, and gender-based violence prevention and response.
“These efforts have brought us to this historic moment of opening a repositioned OVC situation room where we can obtain real time data with ease,” Minister Tallen said. “This will no doubt enhance the data generation and management at the national, regional and international levels.”
The agency noted that the event also served as an opportunity for Minister Tallen to present USAID with an award recognizing the agency’s substantial investments in women and children in Nigeria over the past two decades, auspiciously timed to coincide with the annual 16 Days Against Gender-Based Violence commemoration around the world.
“We are honored by this award. Our support to health care as well as livelihood training for caregivers through the Ministry of Women Affairs, will continue to ensure the nutritional, educational and other needs of some of the most vulnerable Nigerians are met.
“We look forward to further collaboration to protect children and promote women’s equality,” Patterson said.