The World Bank-Assisted Community and Social Development Initiative looks to have recorded a significant milestone in Anambra State, with about 1,025,000 persons said to be benefitting from the project despite having been operational in the state for barely one year.
This is according to statistics made available to newsmen by the General Manager of the Anambra Community and Social Development Agency (ANCSDA), Mr. Chudi Mojekwu.
The Law establishing the ANCSDA was enacted in 2009 but the Agency became operational on 1st August 2018 during the Additional Financing Phase, with the mandate to implement World Bank- Assisted Community and Social Development Projects.
A pro-poor initiative, the project targets specific human capital, social and infrastructural services across 7 key areas- Education, Health, Environment, Power, Transportation, Socio-economic activities among others, in rural communities with very high poverty indices.
Mojekwu said presently, the ANCSDA is undertaking 86 micro-credit projects across 50 communities of Anambra State, with 65 of them completed and the rest at very appreciable levels of completion.
“We have committed over 300,000 million naira towards implementing these projects and over 100 communities have expressed interest to participate but of course, not everyone can participate at this point due to obvious reasons. We have ensured that the participating communities have a stake in the projects so that they can take ownership,” he explained.
The ANCSDA Boss noted that it has been easy for the Agency to get the communities to commit to the project as a result of proper targeting done to identify the actual needy communities and their specific expectations.
“The rural communities targeted under this initiative are those with a huge infrastructural deficit, who will find these micro-projects highly beneficial. As such, they can go to any length to meet their obligation towards the projects. Also, we do not insist on only cash contributions as the communities are allowed to make their choice of contribution and we evaluate them in monetary terms,” he said.
According to Mojekwu, the agency has been able to achieve so much in very little time due to the support of the State Government in providing the statutory counterpart funding.
He said, “Part of the conditions to draw this support from World Bank is that the State Government will pay #50 million counterpart funds. In 2019, the State Government approved double of that money because of the huge impact the project is making and the efficiency with which the initial funds were managed. We are expecting to achieve about 150 micro-projects in 70 communities by the time this phase winds up in June, this year. It is on record that no state in Nigeria has achieved this considering the time started drawing World Bank’s credit.”