Kano, UNICEF Develop Social Protection Policy to Tackle Poverty

By Uangbaoje Alex, Kano

As part of measure to address issues of poverty and vulnerability in Kano State, the state government with support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) at the weekend inaugurated a 30-man Technical Working Group, (TWG) to develop a Social Protection policy and programme implementation to tackle the menace.

2017 global multidimensional poverty index had indicated that about 76.4 per cent of the population of Kano State are living in poverty.

UNICEF Social Policy Specialist, Ramatu Budah Aliyu during the inaugural meeting of the TWG, said the move to reverse the poverty and vulnerability index became imperative for the funds because the duo are critical factors that must be addressed if it must make any positive impact and desired change in the developmental indices of the state.

Ramatu said the move will address issues of financial barriers that stopped the people from accessing basic services like – access to health care, food, education, shelter among others.

According to her, “For us in UNICEF, poverty and vulnerability are critical areas that must be addressed if we are to really change the developmental indices in the state.

“In view of this, we have supported Kano state government launched the social protection policy development process and have set up a 30-man Technical Working Group who will drive the development of the policy in the state. It’s been due for some time now and we’ve been looking forward to this process for long. The social protection policy is a national policy which was adopted in 2017 by the Federal government and it’s expected that all states should do the same.

“And why is it important, is that the policy will drive the program design and implementation of government’s program around poverty and vulnerability issues that concerns people at the community level.

“Basically, it is a significant event for us because it signifies government commitment to providing resources and ensuring that there is a strategic approach to addressing issues around poverty and vulnerability looking at critically financial barriers that stopped people from accessing basic services like – access to health care, food, education, shelter among others and see to how to remove such barriers.

“Like I said, it is significantly important for us as UNICEF because Kano State is facing the challenges of poverty. Around 70 per cent of the population are living under poverty. And we know that whatever we do, if we don’t address the big challenge of poverty, you cannot meet the basic developmental indices in the state.

“There is high level of multidimensional poverty where children face different negative outcomes because their parents can’t either afford even to feed them from the point of conception. The quality of food a mother eats is important but if she can’t afford it or have access to it, it is a problem. So all the way to the time a child reaches the age of going to school and cannot even access the school, cannot pay transport to get to the school and others. Issues around healthcare, out of pocket expenditure, parents can pay certain amounts of money just for the child to have basic healthcare,” Ramatu stated.

Earlier, in his welcome remarks, the Director Planning, Kano State Ministry of Planning and Budget, Mukhtar Ado Yakasai said that the state government will continue to do its best to see to the reduction of poverty and protection of vulnerable groups from shocks that may arise from social insecurity throughout the life cycle of an individual and vulnerabilities caused by disabilities, accidents and disaster among others.

Yakasai commended the development partners such as UNICEF and Action Against Hunger for their untiring efforts to support the State.

The 30-man Technical Working Group has the composition of all relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDA’s, State House of Assembly, Development partners, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the Media. They have a timeline of three months to facilitated the development of the policy which will involve critical consultations with stakeholders and assessment of documents and data on poverty in the state.

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