By Grace Udofia
Following the effect of the 12-year conflict in Nigeria’s North East region, the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) have disclosed that they will work in partnership to provide community-based psychological services aimed at improving the mental health of 5,129 out of school children.
A statement on the UNICEF website informed that the joint projects will be done through the EU-funded Support to Early Recovery and Resilience Project, implemented by UNICEF.
The statement explained that at least 5,129 conflict-affected out-of-school children across six local government areas in Borno State are receiving services including mental health support in safe spaces to strengthen their well-being, resilience, literacy skills and self-reliance.
It added that, the project also supports vulnerable children across Borno with protection and health services, vocational and basic literacy skills, access to justice and security, under a holistic humanitarian intervention that has so far provided 15,552 out-of-school children with vocational training; 1,610 out-of-school children with literacy and numeracy skills and 5,194 children enrolled into integrated Qur’anic schools across focus LGAs.
UNICEF representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins said, “The scars of conflict are real and enduring for children. Too many children in north-east Nigeria are falling victim to a conflict they did not start. “Attacks against children must stop immediately. In the meantime, we are committed to working with our partners to provide psychosocial and other support to conflict-affected children so they can regain their childhood and restart their lives”.
According to EU Head of Cooperation, Cecile Tassin-Pelzer, “Addressing the psychosocial well-being and development of children and teachers in conflict situations is an important part of re-establishing education provision and enabling children to re-enter schools safely”.