By Sola Ogundipe
NO less than 4,645 Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) have in the past two years been rescued in Nigeria through the ACCORD (Assistance and Care for Children Orphaned and at Risk) project financed by the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Project Director, ACCORD Dr. Ebunoluwa Jaiyesimi, said the OVC are those identified in Cross River, Lagos, Osun and Oyo States. Through the project, she said the children were provided scholarship, medical, nutritional and psychosocial support.
The project though coordinated by HOPE worldwide Nigeria,is executed in these various States through partnership with Community Based Organizations (CBOâ€™s). The project was conceived due to the increasing number this category of children, as a result of different circumstances which HIV/AIDS is one.
Recent statistics by Federal government, through the Ministry of Women Affairs, the number of orphans is put at 7 million which is 10.7 per cent of the total number of children put at 69million. Of this number, 1.8 million which is 26 per cent is as a result of HIV/AIDS. It is therefore estimated that by 2015 the number is likely to double if nothing drastic is done to arrest the trend.
The ACCORD project was initiated as a strategy for rescuing children, especially those that have become orphans or vulnerable in our various communities. It is a three year project which is expected at the end to have provided 8,616 orphans and vulnerable children and one thousand and twenty three (1723) caregivers in Nigeria.