THE Governor of Anambra State, Chief Dr. Willie Obiano has made commendable in-roads in his populist-oriented policies, programmes and projects to alleviate the privations of people in the hinterlands. The establishment of Anambra State Community and Social Development Agency [ANCSDA] is geared to executing life-enhancing development activities in the rural communities especially the riverine communities who are subjected to perennial flooding that render their agricultural activities to noting.
Obiano strove to meet the conditions of the World Bank Assisted Community Development Projects-Additional Financing [CSDP-AF] in the state which aim at poverty reduction in rural communities using Community Driven Development [CDD] approach.
The Managing Director of the agency, Chudi Mojekwu and his staff are visiting the selected communities that fall within the parameters of the world body for poverty alleviation to sensitize community leaders; namely traditional rulers, town union executives, women leaders and youth leaders to understand the essence of the World Bank micro projects and what they are supposed to do to make it sustainable. At the inception, riverine communities that were selected were in Anambra East and West Local Government Areas and Ayamelum. But due to considerations, Anaocha, Oyi, Ogbaru and Orumba South Local Government communities were included.
The sensitization visits led to the approval of 10 communities for the release of the World Bank grant to commence the execution of the micro projects. A two-day training workshop for the CPMC and sub-committee members from the ten communities was organized in Awka to guide them on the nitty-gritty of the conditions for the sustainability of the poverty alleviation development programme. The next batch of the training programme was held at the same venue with members of Ndikelionwu, Nanka and Omoghobe communities in Orumba North Local Government Area, Umumbo community in Ayamelum Local Government Area, and Ugbenu in Awka North Local Government Area.
It is interesting to note that Anambra State is the first in the entire federation to key into the micro projects programme and was able to get the required 10 communities ready to qualify for the grant irrespective of the fact that the state joined late. This is a commendable credit to Governor Willie Obiano, who has proved to have great passion to transform lives especially in the hinterlands, hence tag of “populist-oriented and good governance Governor”. He has always accorded the cash counterpart contributions a top priority in the annual budgets so that the state would be meeting up with international development programmes to alleviate the poor conditions in rural communities and reduce pervasive poverty and create wealth to enable people live better life to the glory of God.
In view of the pervasive poverty in many rural communities, certain challenges are discernible like meeting the five percent cash or material contribution from the groups that demand the World Bank micro projects. In the execution of community projects, levies and donations are used. Default in meeting the obligations due to poverty have led to sanctions. Reacting to this danger threatening the execution of the micro projects, one of the participants in the two-day training programme, Samuel Mbukwesili from
Umueri commended the white men [World Bank] for their godly nature in trying to ameliorate the privations of the people in third world countries and Governor Willie Obiano for attracting the programme, saying that cash contribution of five percent of the total cost will not be a problem because the micro projects will reduce drudgery in the selected communities.
In his comment, Peter Anikpe commended Obiano because the micro projects are meant for the poor. “Our major problems are quarters for primary school teachers who come from far places, thus affecting teaching. We also need modern storage facilities for our farm products”.
In her contribution, Mrs. Benedicta Ikeora from Nando said that the micro projects will keep our youngsters busy to reduce crimes and reduce rural-urban migration in search of non-existing job. She believes that people will be willing to contribute the five percent because the benefits are very much.
The World Bank-driven micro projects are geared towards intervention to reduce the extreme poverty in selected communities and transform the landscape to make the rural dwellers enjoy meaningful life. The significance of this version of World Bank’s humanitarian gesture is based on the preparedness of the federal and sub-national governments to address the extreme privations of a segment of the society whose living conditions appear to have been glossed over.
The World Bank-driven pro-poor initiative has been in existence in some states since 2004. Due to the passion Obiano has in touching lives across board, he strove to meet the stringent conditions of the international body.
The general manager, Chudi Mojekwu explained that ASCSDA came into the lime-light in March 2009 sequel to Anambra State House of Assembly law. He said: “The agency is charged with the function of improving the socio-economic conditions of the populace at the grassroots level by promoting prompt delivery of services geared towards poverty reduction in the state.
“The agency is currently implementing the World Bank assisted community and social development project-Additional Financing [CSDP-AF] in the state. A distinguishing feature of CSDP-AF is the emphasis on social assistance [safety net] for the poor and vulnerable. This resulted in a new component [Component 4] which would create a window for social and economic support to the vulnerable such as widows, marginalized households, physically and chronically poor individuals and households in the communities. The vulnerable also include households that are extremely poor or susceptible to deteriorating welfare situation due to occurrence of uninsured risks such as adverse climatic events, conflicts, death of breadwinner, fire disaster, etc. Such groups of people would also include internally displaced poor households due to conflict situations and natural disasters, the culturally marginalized, etc.”
Mojekwu further explained that the thrust of the agency’s duty to the vulnerable groups is demand-driven. Town unions can play vital roles in mobilizing the affected groups to form management committees in line with the guidelines and submit to the local government council. The agency will appraise the fulfillment of the conditions and get the controlling ministry, Ministry of Budget and Planning for further steps to draw the financial grants from the World Bank.
The micro projects are: Education: Which involves construction or rehabilitation of class rooms, dormitories or hostels for people with special and /or vulnerable children, and provision of school bus with special needs.  Health: construction or rehabilitation of health centres or special needs facilities eg. autistic patients, furnishing and equipping of health centres.  Socio-economic: Construction and equipping of skill acquisition centres like mat weaving, bag weaving, craft making, etc., specialized market stalls and shops.
Environmental/Natural resources: Group horticulture and nursery production systems, planting/protection of identified plant species and other locally appropriate trees for soil stabilization.  Community housing: Group managed provision of housing units to vulnerable individuals/households especially the IDPs. Group managed rehabilitation and renovation of shelters for poor and vulnerable groups in communities. Water: Solar powered boreholes for a group and hand pump boreholes.  Rural electrification projects including solar power and group street lighting.  Transportation involves construction of culverts and mini bridges.
The general manager stressed on the imperative of paying the counterpart contribution in cash and in kind or cash alone. “Gender and vulnerable groups are formed based on need, interest and shared value”. It is expected that the agency has to beam its searchlight on the ability to get the counterpart funding to assure the vulnerable groups that government really appreciates the benevolence of the World Bank.
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