Released Chibok Girls: UNFPA Assures Psychosocial,Medical & Livelihood Support
In an interview with newsmen in Abuja on the travails of the earlier released 24 Chibok girls ,the Deputy Representative of the UNFPA, Dr. Eugene Kongnyuy, observed that the girls had gone through trauma, lost basically their childhood, and missed three years of adolescenthood.
‘They have lost basically their childhood, missed three years of adolescenthood and gone through violence: sexual, physical and emotional. And, they needed psychosocial rehabilitation.”he said.
“Basically, the physical rehabilitation is to provide the girls with their personal effects needs, which include culturally appropriate dressing and other clothing materials.” In terms of medical support, some of the girls had series of medical treatment where they went through medical screening and diagnosis, and they were all treated. In terms of psychosocial support, they had serious psychosocial trauma as such they all needed counselling.”
“In terms of nutrition, many of them were malnourished; they needed some balanced diet to get them back to normalcy. They also needed a shelter where they can stay and be looked after. Government is providing that. And, UNFPA also provided livelihood support through the government.”
Dr Kongnyuy said in collaboration with the Federal Government,support would be given in certain specific areas that UNFPA has comparative advantage.
“These include physical rehabilitation, medical rehabilitation, psychosocial rehabilitation as well as livelihood support.”
“UNFPA will help the girls reintegrate into the society,our support is for the 24 Chibok girls that were released, 21 plus three, and now 82 girls have also been released. And, they are under the safekeeping of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs. UNFPA received a request from the Ministry on certain specific areas that UNFPA has comparative advantage.”he said.
Dr. Eugene Kongnyuy also stressed the need for a long term strategy,on how to work with traditional and religious leaders,as well as the families of the girls and the entire community to accept them when they get back to their original towns and villages.
“There are concerns about their reintegration because it raises stigma within their community. When some of the girls who have children were asked the question whether they will go back to Chibok, they said even if they are going, they will not take their children along. Probably the reason is they feel that they will not be accepted if they go with children. So, they feel stigmatized.”
He expressed the hope that once the medical assessment on the 82 were done, the necessary training would be given, then, they will go to where they are supposed to live and take similar nine-month rehabilitation programme as the previous 24 girls.
While answering question on US government defunding UNFPA early this year, Dr Kongnyuy said “That means that UNFPA will not be receiving any funding from the US government. This basically is based on false information linking UNFPA to abortion.
“UNFPA does not support, fund, provide or has never supported abortion anywhere, either in Nigeria or any other country. We are hopeful that US government will realize this and reconsider that type of decision. Certainly, it is going to affect, and it is affecting the way we scale up activities, either in Nigeria or in any other country.”he added.