The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with Kano State Government and the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs (FMHDS), have launched an unconditional cash transfer project largely funded by the Government of Japan and the European Union (EU). With a total sum of N 2.95 billion (equivalent to US $7,700,000), the project implemented under the Nigeria One UN COVID-19 response seeks to alleviate the socio-economic impact of the pandemic on the poor and vulnerable and strengthen the resilience of communities in Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Kano State deeply impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
With over 1,900 recorded cases as of December 2020, and the third highest poverty rate in Nigeria, Kano is one of the five hotspot states burdened by the pandemic nationwide. In urban poor communities in Kano metropolis, particularly Kano Municipal comprising Fagge, Dala, Gwale, Tarauni, and Nasarawa LGAs, 9,600 individuals will benefit from the cash for work programme while an additional 2,500 small-to-medium-sized (SMEs) will receive cash grants for their businesses and start-ups to support business continuity.
Abubakar Bashir is an experienced, creative geo-spatialist hailing from Kano state. The passionate 23-year-old looks at using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to assess maternal and newborn mortality rates as well as improve health conditions of newly born babies in his region.
Due to the pandemic, Abubakar developed a model coded O-D Scale which uses GIS to locate the origin-destination map of women seeking birth care services in Kano. This GIS coded data can then be appropriately analyzed and fed back into a quality improvement cycle.
“COVID-19 has generated a lot of untold hardship for pregnant women and the need for lasting solutions cannot be overemphasized,” Abubakar said. “The O-D Scale, if fully utilized, will provide women with access to medical healthcare and reduce substantial maternal deaths. Understanding the spatiotemporal dynamics of COVID-19 is essential for its mitigation, as it helps to clarify the extent and impact of the pandemic and can aid decision making, planning and community action”.
The UNDP Cash Transfer will help Abubakar’s initiative in realizing its full potential by unlocking access to high quality data needed for decision making, provide increased training for both GIS software and the maps, and will support the growth of professionals working in data visualization for maternal and newborn health.
As the founder and owner of Ammarie Beauty Salon, Amma Omar oversees her business which offers extensive female personal hygiene amenities, including hairstyling, manicure and pedicure and essential oil services. Amma also prides herself on being a mentor for other young women who want to explore a career in beauty by teaching them the skills they need to be successful in the industry.
“Ammarie Beauty Salon caters for the fashion demands of our people in a unique way by rendering services that best suits our environmental settings” Amma said. “COVID-19 has shown the impacts of state lockdown and so the need to create a new way of providing services to customers - like coming to their homes when the need arises – is critical.”
The pandemic and its resultant lockdowns have negatively impacted Ammarie Beauty’s sales and ability to maintain business continuity. Amma is thankful for the unconditional cash transfer project as it will help to support operational costs and allows her to continue to teach and recruit young girls to work in the beauty industry as a means of sustainable livelihood.