… Seeks Government support
Cyril Ogar, Abuja
Auxano Foundation for Empowerment and Development (AFED), a non-governmental organization has advocated for greater global support for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
The Foundation made the call during an advocacy visit to Kuchingoro IDP camp as a way of raising awareness to the plights of displaced persons in Nigeria.
In her opening remark, Dr. Grace encouraged the IDPs to remain state fast that they were not alone in this and the Team was there to show solidarity and share with them. She also educates them generally on health hygiene and general COVID 19 prevention and care tips including social distancing and proper washing of hands.
Also speaking, Mr. Samuel Okoroji challenged the IDPs to think beyond their displaced situations that the IDP is not their permanent home. He further challenged them that they can begin to think of volunteering and community development as a way of giving back to the community when they leave the camp.
Noting that they can start the good work while they are there and also to plan their lives in preparation for the resumption of normal life after leaving the IDP environment.
A mini-workshop was conducted that involved female 10 beneficiaries and other boys. The girls who had earlier been mentored and trained were provided with hairdressing empowerment kits the boys were assured that in subsequent interventions, we would design programme on a barbing project for them could not be possible this time due to the current COVID 19 situation.
Ms Maria Effiwatt gave the ladies some business tips and how to successfully package their services and advertise their finished hair products. She assured them that the Team will continue to render all necessary support of patronage and see that their hair products reach a wider range of target audiences. She further urges them to take advantage of their phones in showcasing their services to the world.
Also, during the workshop, Barr. Mary Igoh inspired the women and girls on strong morals and self-confidence.
She charged them to see the brighter sides of life; see themselves as the beauty of God’s creation and never to give in to depression or inferiority. Barr. Mary also shared face masks to them and spoke to them about COVID-19 and the proper way to use the mask and maintain positive hygiene while maintaining positive mental attitudes towards life in general.
speaking to the Press, Ms. Edna Orji acknowledged all the partners of AFED who made the event possible and called on the general public to remember the IDPs and other vulnerable persons in the society as their situation is very deploring and they are enduring some worst situations in their life.
Speaking with our correspondent from her base in the UK on Skype in an interview, Ms Igoh Lawrenta Igoh currently on Chevening Scholar in the UK applauded Team Auxano and partners for their foresight to visit the IDP camp. She informed that in February 2019 while on a Research mission she and the Team visited the camp for a situation and need assessment analysis and discovered with dismay that apart from the traumatic legacies of been attacked by terrorist, driven from communities of origin and robbed of loved one that led to their displacement in the first place, a displaced person suffer even more trauma from social exclusion, poor living standards, sexual abuse, at the camp.
“As the world commemorates the 2020 world Refugee Day today, our minds are drawn to hundreds of thousands of people across the world who have been forcibly displaced (Refugees, Asylum-Seekers and Internally Displaced Persons); those who have found a durable solution (Returnees) and those who are Stateless that touches on every country across the world in different ways and with different faces,” she said.
Ms Stephanie Agba who is Team member and currently a PhD student based in the US told our correspondents that the thought of people dying from hunger in an attempt to save their lives from a virus during the COVID-19 enforced lockdown in Nigeria was daunting to me especially as a young girl who understands very well, from experience, what it means to have no food at home, and who can imagine how difficult this period would be for families whose source of livelihood have been either compromised or cut off totally due to regulations surrounding the COVID-19 breakout, not to talk of individuals who generally just have no livelihood at all due to life circumstances.
She called on the Federal Government to take more proactive measures to provide good health facilities, welfare items, and economic empowerment for IDPs.
According to Igoh, every action counts in supporting stateless people and their hosts.
Everyone, including refugees, can contribute to society and every action counts in the efforts to create a more just, inclusive and equal world.
“Whoever you are, no matter where you come from, every one of us can make a difference. Every action truly counts; do an action today to support the refugees and the IDPs,” said Igoh, who has a bias for research in Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons,” she said.
According to her, an average of 42,500 people flees their homes daily to seek protection within or outside of the borders of their own countries.
Speaking further, she commended the Team and volunteers of Auxano Foundation for their active citizenry and commitment to development in Nigeria. She further stated that “Auxano Foundation is a great platform through which people with the dream and desire to, have been able to reach out to the less privileged in impoverished communities, and so kudos to the Auxano team members and facilitators, for making it their duty to try to make the world a better place for everyone one day at a time, as they work towards changing the lives of many for the better.
Also, Uduak Akpanedet, founder of YUDEE Foundation encouraged the Internally Displaced Persons to never give up no matter their current situation, with a positive mental attitude they will overcome. “considering all the tragedies in my life to have been gifted in order to empower me to make a difference to others. I have been on the road with many thorns, but by the Grace of God those thorns could not overwhelm me and consequently, my life has become beautiful, and I could give beauty to people’s lives.
Using her own example, she informed me that “I started seeing myself as an agent of change who is passionate about making positive change and bringing about the imperativeness in society following my experiences in life. I discovered that the problems and challenges of humanity are mostly caused by poor orientations given to children and youths while growing up. I have been through tough times in life but today I am in the UK because I did not let my situation define me”.
Also Ms Jennifer Chinenye Emelife a co-partner of the outreach, who is the founder of Teach for Change Nigeria (TFCN) and currently in the UK undertaking research on refugees and education for the IDPs informed our correspondent that, there has been a global focus on refugees and this is understandable. Involving a large number of people frequently risking their lives by crossing borders sometimes with no legal permission, refugees – particularly the children, are highly vulnerable. While this is true, the international prominence of the issue of refugees has resulted in a sort of neglect of those who are internally displaced. UNHCR, the UN agency for Refugees, records that about 65 million people around the world have lost their homes due to conflicts or disasters. 21 million are refugees, 42 million are internally displaced persons (IDPs).
She further stated that as the world and the UN agency for Refugees center on the refugees, it’s important to equally focus on the IDPs. They may not have crossed borders, but their experiences of loss, trauma, and displacement are valid. IDPs, just as the refugees, are in need of human rights protection and humanitarian assistance.
She thanks her team member, Ajifa Rachel, for representing TFCN at the mentoring session for the IDPs while calling on the society and government, “as we mark the World Refugee Day today, we are calling on the governments, NGOs, international bodies and indeed the public to not relent on meeting the needs of IDPs all over the world. These include access to food, education and livelihood opportunities, security, and the right to movement and property.
The Kochingoro IDP Camp is about 2hours drive along a bad road from Apo. the inhabitants of the camp live in bad situations, they lament complete social exclusion by the government; absence of food, water, good housing, school, good road, portable drinking, telecommunication networks, electricity, hospital, police station, etc Characterized this community. They are highly impoverished and thus at-risk communities to human trafficking activities and terrorism and the women are constantly abused sexually and giving out to early marriages.
Highlights of the event were the mentoring session, skills acquisition including hair braiding for those who indicated interest to professionalize their skills in the last visit, presentation of humanitarian gifts, food, clothing, and household items by the groups.
The Team spotted a COVID-19 prevention invention made by the kids in the camp, they made a wooden pedal and plastic water keg for regular hand washing. However, the Team observed with dismay that they were touching the keg instead of using the wooden pedal and further advise them on better use of their invention.
Auxano Foundation also presented many relief items to the community including foodstuff, clothing items, footwears, attachments, crochet, hair creams, mannequins, etc.
In response, Mr. Luka, the IDP school Coordinator, and other beneficiaries expressed their gratitude to the Foundation for remembering the Camp.
The Team call on the government to prioritize the issues of displacements in Nigeria and come provide socio.
Barr. Mary Igoh, one of the board of trustees thanked all partners, team, volunteers and the media for their solidarity during this outreach and invite the whole of government and the whole of society to reflect on this year’s world refugee day theme:
“Every Action Count”. She concluded “Today is a call to all persons in authorities at the national and international fronts, neighboring states, local communities, families and you, to pause and think for a moment what it means when HOME IS NOWHERE and make and take ONE ACTION that you’d have loved to be made or taken on your behalf if you were the one in the situation of displacements, seeking local and international protection, forced to leave your home, communities or places of residents or just fleeing situations of conflicts, civil unrest, and gross violations of human rights.
The Team includes some Nigerians at home and those in Diaspora; US, UK, and Turkey, concerned about the deploring situations endured by IDPs across the nation were motivated to bring the issues of IDP to the world considering the many similarities they share with Refugees even though they live in their own country.