​Traditional, Religious Leaders, Media Key to Advocacy – Stakeholders

By Alex Uangbaoje, Birnin Kebbi
Stakeholders at the just concluded Kebbi State Advocacy and Community Engagement Workshop, has reemphasised the importance of both Traditional, Religious Leaders and the Media as vital in advocating and creating awareness to enhance best health practices and behaviour in the society. 

They agreed that the integration of the traditional and religious institutions with the media will improve and increase the awareness level of communities in Kebbi State on health, education, nutrition, sanitation, child protection and WASH information.

The stakeholders in a communique endorsed by all participants at the workshop, noted that traditional and religious leaders have strong influence in every community to help enhance the adoption of best health practices, and in ensuring that children are enrolled in schools,  registered at birth, protected.
To also ensure that women attend antenatal clinic, and that, high nutrition and sanitation practices become prevalent among the people.

The workshop which was inaugurated by Governor of the State, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, and had in attendance members of his Executive Council, staff members from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)  Sokoto  Field Office, religious leaders,  traditional  leaders, media representatives and other stakeholders, was organized by the Kebbi State Advocacy and Community Engagement Forum with support from UNICEF. 

The purpose of the workshop was to develop a 5-year Advocacy and Community Engagement Plan to enhance demand for services in maternal and child health,   nutrition, education, water,   sanitation and hygiene and   child protection in Kebbi State to be implemented by the traditional and religious institutions, and the media. 

Participants emphasised the need to engage the community more in order to accelerate and increase positive healthy practices in Kebbi State.

The participants have better understanding of the roles of the religious leaders, traditional leaders and the media in community engagement in Kebbi   State for the improvement of maternal and  child   health,nutrition,   education, water, sanitation   and   hygiene and child protection. 

There were more grassroots information from the participants which will be used to improve the action plan. They agreed that children and women are more vulnerable to diseases, lack of access to education, water and sanitation. 

Some of the challenge, according to their observations are due to taboos, misconceptions, superstitions etc. 

They equally noted that both Islam and Christianity support good health practices, sanitation, education, nutrition and child protection as parental responsibility complemented by community and collective obligation. 

Participants finally, also agreed that there is still low awareness among communities in Kebbi State on maternal and child health, nutrition, education, water, sanitation and hygiene and child protection information.


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