By Victor Ogunje
The Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has revealed that a grant of $20 millio, has been approved by the World Bank to prosecute projects that would cushion the effect of COVID-19 pandemic disease on Ekiti citizens.
Fayemi said the fund, which would be released under a novel programme tagged “Nigeria CARES,” would be deployed to undertake projects in rural communities to reduce poverty and propel local economy.
He spoke during a programme that was organised by the Ekiti State Social and Community Development Agency (EKSCDA), to review community projects that were executed in state since 2009.
The state governor, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Development Partnership, Mrs. Margaret Fagboyo, lauded the partnering communities for believing in his rural development policy by contributing over N200 million as counterpart funding to boost the Community and Social Development Programme (CSDP).
He said: “I am happy to inform our people that the World Bank has approved a new project called the Nigeria CARES as a post COVID-19 intervention grant for Ekiti State. The grant is in excess of $20 million as a stimulus fund to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic in our various communities.”
Fayemi described the CSDP as a poverty reduction initiative of the World Bank established in 2009 to accelerate development at the community level, saying that Ekiti has been ranked as one of the best in implementing and sustaining the policy.
“The project allows the benefiting communities to choose, implement and sustain their projects, while also contributing 10 percent as counterpart funds to encourage ownership of the project so as to make maintenance and sustainability of the project possible.
“In the educational sector, there was 34.0 per cent and 78 per cent increase in schools’ enrollment at the primary school level both for male and female students respectively. At the secondary school level, male enrollment also increased by 135.8 per cent while females increased by 157.4 per cent.
“This outstanding feat was also recorded in water and health sectors respectively. In other words, access to healthcare services and provision of portable water have been tremendously impacted the lives of our people at the rural communities.
“I am also grateful to learn that benefiting communities have contributed over N200 hundred millions in counterpart funds in order to make maintenance and ownership of the various micro projects a possible one,” he said.
The Chairman of the Board of EKSCDA, Mr. Biodun Akin-Fasae, commended Fayemi for initiating 644 projects under CSDP across all the towns to ensure that no community is neglected in the scheme of things.
Prof. Niyi Okunlola, said in his lecture entitled “Project Sustainability Strategies,” that about 90 projects that were executed in the area of education had increased enrolment in schools while the 160 and 175 executed in the health and business sectors had helped access to healthcare service and the growth of local economy
“For the community to succeed in sustaining the projects, they can contribute a pool of funds for maintenance, so that they can repair any fault immediately to save future cost and total damage. The traditional rulers must energise the community associations to make this work,” Okunlola said.