UNICEF, Launches Child Friendly Community Initiative in Kaduna

By Uangbaoje Alex, Kaduna

As part of efforts at ensuring children accesses all necessary services at the community level in Kaduna State, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Kaduna State Government on Thursday launched Child Friendly Community Initiative (CFCI).

The initiative which is being piloted in two Local Government Areas of Igabi and Lere is targeted at six communities with over 24,048 estimated population.

Speaking at the launch of the programme in Kaduna during an inception meeting with stakeholders, Commissioner for Planning and Budget Commission, Mr Thomas Gyang, expressed gratitude to UNICEF for its support and the CFCI project.

The commissioner who was represented by Mahmoud Yamusa, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, said, He is hopeful that the outcome of the programme will improve socio-economic indices as well as
scale up the programme to more communities.

He promised that the state government will give the program all the necessary
support to succeed, adding “i wish to urge all the community and religious leaders to support this programme.”

“l am pleased to mention
that the United Nations Children Funds (UNICEF) is one of the biggest partners
supporting the State in various programmes on children, youth, adolescent and women. It has been committing huge resources to eliminate 5 killer diseases (measles, cholera, tetanus, malaria, typhoid) amongst children, reduce maternal and infant morbidity and mortality rate, eradicate HIV/AIDS, increase access to school and women empowerment.

“l was really excited when I received the information that Kaduna State was selected as one of the pilot States for this programme because we are indeed committed to fast tracking the achievements of the state development goals, which I believe that this programme will complement in no small measure to actualize our Vision.

“This Initiative is a system of good governance that is committed to fulfilling the child’s rights and seeks to promote the voices, needs, priorities of children as an integral part of public policies, programmes, and decisions.)If this objective is to be achieved, every stakeholder needs to play its role to complement one another so that the desired goals could be achieved.”

He expressed sadness that despite intervention by government and Development Partners, the state is yet to achieve some critical targets on maternal mortality, malnutrition, infant mortality, and access to School.

“Some of key factors responsible for these low indices include,; wrong belief and harmful traditional practices. These are problems that could only be solved by community. The theatre of action is in the community and by the
community members” He added.

On his part, Dr. Zakari Adam, Chief of UNICEF Kaduna Field Office, explained that, CFCI is a concept that is making the motto of UNICEF a reality, saying “we used to say children is first. CFCI therefore mean what we supposed to do in our individual and collective level to ensure that children access the needed services in terms of education, health, protection, etc.

“It is aimed at ensuring at community level, all services, all actors are working in synergy to ensure that when you go to community you have insurance that everything is functioning harmoniously to ensure realisation and implementation of all children’s right, that is what we call CFCI.

“At some point, when the community is really child friendly, when you go there you will have all indices and today we are having discussion with all stakeholders to be on same page about the various measures that will indicate that the community is effectively child friendly community.”

Dr Zakari said UNICEF, is expecting that at end of the meeting the stakeholders will all agree and ensure that everyone is saying the same thing at the starting point of the initiative.

“The expectation is that first we are all clear about the initiative and all stakeholders are sensitized and equipped with this concept and when they get to their localities they will be the guiding force to ensure that we achieve these objectives involving administration, community, UNICEF as the support actor.” He said.

Chairman Igabi LGA Chairman, Hon. Jabir Khamis, commended UNICEF and the state government for selecting his LGA as part of the pilot for the programme, saying “Igabi has the highest number of children in the entire country based on the schools enrollment register with over 300,000 children.

“I hope at the end of the program the LGA will benefit a lot because am hopeful that the program will get down to the communities and we shall do what we are supposed to do as Local Government.”

Speaking on behalf of wives of LG chairmen, Hajiya Iman Abubakar, Wife of Lere LG Chair, pledged their commitment as to encourage and mobilise women and children in their communities to access the facilities that are available to them and other social amenities.

“Right now, I have started a program which I intend to take to primary and junior schools, since our people get married at eat stages of their lives. So we intend to sensitise them on the importance of education, importance of going to health facilities.

“If we give them proper sensitisation, when they eventually get married they will begin to enjoy the benefits attached to attending health facilities.” She said.

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