International advocacy organization Global Citizen and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) have partnered to create the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund (NSSF), a fund for Nigerians by Nigerians to combat the devastating effects brought on the people of Nigeria by COVID-19 and its associated restrictions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of every Nigerian, healthcare systems have become overwhelmed and need critical support. The Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund has been created to support vulnerable groups, strengthen Nigeria’s healthcare systems and reskill the Nigerian youth for a post COVID-19 era.
“We all have a part to play in improving the lives of our fellow Nigerians. Now is the time that we can make a difference, whether you are a corporate or an individual there is a role for you. In order for this fund to be a success we need the whole country to get behind us and donate. This fund has been created by Nigerians, for Nigerians for the betterment of our country,” said Tijani Babatunde Folawiyo, Chairman Global Citizen Nigeria.
With an initial target of $50 million, the NSSF hopes to raise donations from Nigerians in the country as well as in the diaspora, multilateral organisations, philanthropists, HNIs, corporates, the public sector and international businesses.
Grants will be awarded to fund projects that support three core objectives of NSSF. The fund will target Nigeria’s most vulnerable communities and will vary across initiatives determined by the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund Statutory Board, who will set grant floors and ceilings.
The NSSF has set three core COVID-19 response, mitigation, recovery and resilience objectives:
- Supporting The Most Vulnerable: Funds will be targeted at alleviating the challenges faced by the most vulnerable: those most disproportionately impacted by COVID -19, suffering from underlying health conditions; those with poor access to affordable health services, those in low-income, informal and insecure jobs or internally displaced persons; and those who are providing healthcare and other essential services.
- Strengthening healthcare systems: Funds will help to build and upgrade existing healthcare infrastructure and provide sustainable capacity towards future response efforts and containment.
- Re-skilling and re-tooling Nigerians: Funds will support human capital development to address the skills gap required to strengthen the nation’s labour market and meet the demands of a changing workforce in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NSSF is subject to a three-tier governance system aimed at ensuring that all contributions to the Fund are recognised, accounted for and effectively managed, and to ensure that all disbursements are aligned with the Fund’s mandate and the impact thereof is measured and reported.
Governed by a Statutory Board made up of experienced and reputable board members the NSSF is independently administered and transparently managed through a fund management system which aims to ensure that all contributions are responsibly administered and disbursed in order to have the greatest possible impact in combating the COVID-19 pandemic and lessening its effects.
“We have an extremely experienced and highly regarded Board of Directors in place who are actively involved in the day to day running of the trust. The team have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that all the necessary governance and procedures are in place for a transparent fund and to give all donors the peace of mind that their funds are going directly to the people that need it most. We are all very proud of what we have created, and hope that all Nigerians will now support it,” commented Uche Orji, Manager Director and Chief Executive Officer, NSIA.
The fund will initially run for eighteen months with strong plans to sustain its existence to ensure the overall objectives are met.
Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, Vice Chairman, Global Citizen Nigeria concluded: “We are proud that as Nigerians we can rally to support the most vulnerable in our society, and we look forward to making a significant impact in combating the tragic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”