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US, Qatar support Safe School Initiative with $4m

US, Qatar support Safe School Initiative with $4m

The governments of the United States and Qatar have presented $2m each to the Safe School Initiative of the Federal Government.

The initiative targets the education needs of pupils affected by the ongoing conflict in the Northeast, specifically in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.

The Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, received the US gesture through the country’s ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle.

Qatar had earlier made the donation through the Qatar Foundation.

The US ambassador said his country was supporting the initiative because it would help to reduce the negative impact of insurgency in the Northeast.

He said, “The US Government is proud to support this initiative. Nigeria’s children who have been affected by the insurgency do not also need to see their hopes for education sacrificed.”

Okonjo-Iweala noted that to complement the efforts of the Federal Government, a Multi-Donor Trust Fund had been set up within the United Nations system.

The $4m, the minister stated, would be transferred into the MDTF, which is being managed by the United Nations Development Programme and UNICEF.

She explained that the fund would co-finance projects and programmes of the initiative alongside the Nigerian fund.

Since the inauguration of the fund last year, the Federal Government had committed $10m while Germany, African Development Bank had each donated 2m Euro and $1m.

Other donors include Norway-$1.5m; United Kingdom-1m pounds in technical assistance and $10m by a coalition of Nigerian business leaders.

The minister said, “The US Government, through United State Agency for International Development has made a donation of $2m into this MDTF and we are here to witness the signing of the MoU between the UN and the US government.

“The government of Qatar, through the Qatar Foundation, has also made a contribution of $2m into the MDTF.”

Providing more update on the initiative inauguarated in the wake of the abduction of the Chibok girls, the minister said about 1,007 pupils have now been enrolled in various schools across the country through the project.

To improve security, she said that 400 security scanners had also been purchased, adding that relief materials, such as food items, mattresses, drugs and medication had been provided to children in living in Internally Displaced Camps.

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