By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria -To ensure children access all necessary services at the community level in Kaduna State, United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF) and the Kaduna Government have launched the Child Friendly Community Initiative (CFCI).
Speaking at the launch in Kaduna during an inception meeting with stakeholders, on Thursday, Commissioner for Planning and Budget Commission, Mr. Thomas Gyang, expressed gratitude to UNICEF for the support of the project.
Gyang, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mahmoud Yamusa, said he is optimistic the outcome of the project will improve the socio-economic indices, and as well scale up the programme to more communities, and promised that Government will give all the necessary support for the programme to succeed.
“I wish to urge all community and religious leaders to support this programme. l am pleased to mention that UNICEF is one of the biggest partners supporting the State in various programmes on children, youth, adolescent and women.
“UNICEF has been committing huge resources to eliminate the 5 killer diseases of: 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. This initiative is a system of good governance that is committed to fulfilling 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 said.
Gyang, 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 key factors responsible for these low indices include; wrong beliefs and harmful traditional practices. These are problems that could only be solved by the community. The theatre of action is in the community and by the community members,” he added.
Chief of UNICEF Kaduna Field Office, Dr. Zakari Adam, said project CFCI is a concept that is making the motto of UNICEF a reality.
“We used to say children are 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, among others.
“The expectation is that we are all clear about the initiative and all stakeholders are sensitized and equipped with this concept so that when they return to their localities they become the guiding force to ensure that these objectives are achieved involving administration, community, UNICEF as the support actor,” he explained.
Chairman Igabi LGA Chairman, Hon. Jabir Khamis, commended UNICEF and the State Government for selecting his Council as a pilot for the programme.
He said Igabi with the highest number of children in the entire country based on the school enrollment register of over 300,000 children, will do the needful as a Council for the success of the programme.
Speaking on behalf of wives of LG chairmen, Wife of Lere LG Chair, Hajiya Abubakar, pledged their commitment to encourage, mobilize women and children in 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 early in life. So we intend to sensitize them on the importance of education, and accessing health facilities. When this is done and they eventually get married they will begin to enjoy the benefits,” she said.
The programme is piloted in two Local Government Areas of Igabi and Lere, targeting six communities of over 24,048 estimated populations.