Child Development: Furnishing Caregivers with Life-changing Information is Key – UNICEF

By Alex Uangbaoje, Kaduna

As part of measures at safeguarding the lives of children, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has said there need for women and caregivers to be furnished with life-changing information for the needed behavioural change.
UNICEF, Communication for Development Specialist, in Kaduna, Mr Eki George, stated this on Thursday, at the close of a 3-day Training of Trainers on Theatre for Development (TFD) from Nasarawa and Niger States.

The training was organised by National Orientation Agency (NOA), Kaduna State Office, with support from UNICEF to equip participants with the capacity to set up theatre groups that would periodically perform dramas to promote healthy behavioural change.
George noted that children face a lot of challenges while growing up because most caregivers do not how to go about nursing and caring for them.
According to him, ensuring quality development of a child largely depends on the information available to women and caregivers, particularly on how to raise and care for a child.
“With relevant information, caregivers would do the needful in safeguarding the future of their children by ensuring they get the best of care for uninterrupted development.”
He described theatre as a crucial tool in educating and enlightenment of communities, particularly women and caregivers in creating the needed behavioural change that would safeguard the interests of the child.
“Information that will impact on the lives of women and children is what we are looking for through drama that theatre groups would be performing in communities,” he added.
George had explained at the opening of the training on Tuesday that 90 theatre groups, 30 each in Kaduna, Nasarawa and Niger states would be established to specifically mobilise communities on essential family practices.
They will also be expected to provide through drama, the needed information and awareness that will improve demand and uptake of health services by caregivers.
He explained that the idea was to use theatre to sensitise communities and caregivers on the benefits of polio vaccines, other health services and key households practices hinged on diseases prevention.
“They will also be expected to mobilise and support families on uptake of polio vaccine, routine immunisation, HIV/AIDS services and other health services crucial for children survival.
“The groups would also support hand washing, sanitation and hygiene practices, exclusive breastfeeding and good complementary feeding practices, school enrolment campaign, particularly the girl child and other child protection related issues,” he had said.
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