Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Embassy of the United States of America monday doled out $171,000 in grants to 30 local groups in Nigeria to support them in meeting their various obligations to vulnerable groups in communities across the country.
The gesture which has become a yearly ritual of the US Ambassador to Nigeria, is a one-time grant to support community development projects that are aimed at improving the socio-economic welfare or health of Nigerians, including communities living with, or affected by HIV/AIDS.
The new Ambassador of the US, Stuart Symington, urged recipients to make judicious use of the monies and thereby put smiles on the faces of the less privilege in the country.
He was speaking at the signing ceremony of the US Ambassador’s Small Grants Programme in Abuja.
“We have this programme that you are part of, but it will only succeed and go forward if you don’t mess it up it,” he said and added that the Nigeria and indeed the world would be a better place for all to live in when people take a conscious decision to impact positively at least one person they come across with daily.
He disclosed that Nigeria as a nation is very important both to the US and the entire world; hence the United States in the last 20 years has been supporting various groups with these grants to ameliorate the sufferings of vulnerable children across communities in the country.
He said: “All around the world people have heard of Nigeria, all around the world people have heard of Africa and smart people have said if Nigeria succeeds, Africa would succeed. And they have said if Africa succeeds the world would succeed.
He advised the recipients to form a close link among themselves as well as with earlier recipients so that they can inter phase, share ideas, including their success stories.
Responding, Project Coordinator, Society for Better Health and Community Development, Adeola Fayemi, from Kwara State who spoke on behalf of other recipients, thanked the US Ambassador for the gesture and promised not to betray the confidence reposed on them.
She advised her colleagues to endeavour to document all their activities for the purpose of transparency and accountability even as she wished the new ambassador a successful tenure in Nigeria.
Also speaking, the Coordinator, Diocesan Health Initiative, Minna, Niger State, Rev. Father Chiedozie Ezeribe, disclosed that there are over 4,500 vulnerable children in his Diocese in Minna as a result of the HIV/AIDS scourge.
He said the funds received would assist them provide support for the children as well as empower and train about 40 care givers in his community.
Some of the projects embarked on by the local groups include the construction of boreholes, classrooms, health promotion, public toilets, food security, educational materials, among others.