Opinion

We Have 330,000 Poor, Vulnerable Households in Kogi State – Dr. Noah Alilu, PhD.

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Kogi State Youth Employment and Social support operations YESSO is a collaborative intervention program initiative of the world Bank aimed strengthening the state level social safety net system and reducing vulnerability of the youth and women through increased access to work opportunity and promoting human capital development, protection and Economic Empowerment of the poor and vulnerable. It is midwifed by the Kogi State government under Governor Yahaya Bello to frontally and decisively tackle the agitating issues of poverty.

The program commenced in 2015 when the state along with 14 other states of the federation who are equally YESSO participating states embraced the program as a solution to poverty reduction.
YESSO has ensured social safety net systems by providing Technical assistance to project implementation,it has also put in place a platform for public workfare which involves cash transfer to poor and vulnerable youths who engage in various public agencies at the grassroots to provide labour intensive services in rural communities.

It has also provided skills to the youths and vulnerable in the society towards making them Economically independent.

Doctor Noah Alilu( PhD) is the man at the helm of affairs of this all important body which has taken up the social responsibility of identifying the poor and vulnerable in kogi state with the view to providing the necessary support.

Doctor Noah Alilu in this Exclusive interview with our correspondent Husseini Abubakar x-rays the vision and mandate of YESSO in providing socour to the poor and vulnerable in the state.

He explains the modus operandi used in arriving at identifying the poor and vulnerable, the bootlenecks, successes and inherent challenges of the social service Agency.

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Excerpts.

Question
Doctor Noah Alilu can you tell us more about kogi YESSO ?

Answer
The youth Employment and social support operations YESSO is a world Bank initiative aimed at strengthening the state level social safety net system and reducing vulnerability of the youth and women through increased access to work opportunity and promoting human capital development. concept behind the implementation of YESSO in kogi state is to amongst other things increase access of the poor and vulnerable using improved social safety net systems,to improve youth Employment opportunities in the state and other participating states. Also, it is to provide targeted cash Transfer to the poor and vulnerable and internally displaced persons in North East. YESSO is now doing a program under ministry of humanitarian disaster management and social development,there is a program under this ministry called National social safety coordinating office (NASCO) that is a in charge of developing social register for the poor and vulnerable in the country, the target now is any poverty related issues, anything that has to do with the poor and vulnerable in the land,we want to articulate their data base in the country so that resources can get to the poor and vulnerable as the occasion demands , everybody claims to be poor but we want to know the severity of poverty across the land.we have the single register of kogi state which has already been uploaded into the National social register that is domiciled in the NASCO office in Abuja supported by the world Bank.

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We are doing this data transparently so that the poor and vulnerable get socour from other donor agencies across the world and to go further,this single register we have built for this country,we have donor agencies across the world that are using the register today,we have international Labour Organization (ILO), we have United Nations women group that are using the data,we have UNICEF that is using the data,we have conditional cash transfer of the federal government using the data ,we equally have the natioñal health insurance scheme both at the national and at the state level, they are visiting the register to impact positively on the life of the poor and vulnerable in the land.

This single register is developed transparently across board without discrimination, no politics in it, we are mandated to cover all the nooks and crannies,we don’t discriminate against any community.

Question
Going by your data, what is the number of the poor and vulnerable in kogi state?

Answer:
We have three approach to select the poor and vulnerable, first of all, we start with what we call geographical targeting , under the geographical targeting what we first of all do is to use the kogi state poverty map, from the poverty map we discover the poorest of the poor local government, we go there and aggregate the list of the entire community and with the aid of the local government authority we now rank the list of those communities.
Community based targeting is an approach that we use to engage the community one on one,we gather the community together to sensitize and mobilize them, then we engage them into a pool discussion, in the cause of discussing with them, we engage what we call the focused group discussion.
We then this community people into the youths, the women and adults, we sample opinion, what causes poverty in your community and from this discussions they mention names of the poor and vulnerable in the community unknown to them. With the list in the single register you will now conclude that those list are people that the community themselves approve as the poor and vulnerable and they need support.

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Question
How would you rate the performance of YESSO in kogi state?

Answer:
As at today we have recorded over three hundred and thirty thousand poor and vulnerable households in kogi state.
When I talk of household am talking about head of the households , now when you talk of the individuals in the households,it comprises of the poor youths, the women and the girls.in a household you can have ten or Fifty people.
The population we have gotten in our register is over one point one million people, looking at the household and the number you will discover that we have covered all wards in kogi state but there are still some communities we have not touched and very soon with the assistance of NASCO we are going to ensure that those communities that have been left untouched are brought on board.


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