KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – To ensure state governments take full ownership and drive the planning and implementation process of intervention programmes for children and women in their states, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has organized a State Engagement Planning (SEP), for Nasarawa, Niger and Kaduna states.
Speaking at the the meeting held in Kaduna on Monday, Health Specialist UNICEF Kaduna Field Office, Dr. Amina Muhammed-Baloni, explained that SEP is an initiative aimed at strengthening the programme planning processes at the state levels.
According to her, the reason for the meeting is to provide the states with information on the new UNICEF country programme focus for 2018 to 2022.
She added that it will also availed the states an understanding of the new engagement process to accelerate achievement of results through the SEP.
Others she said are; to identify and agree with partners on convergent LGAs and wards for the implementation of the SEP; and to develop the SEP across the key sectors with focus on identified convergent LGAs.
“This process entails a more in-depth discussion between the State Governments, Ministries, other partners and UNICEF Field Office, to draw up an annual SEP.
“Focus is how to accelerate achievement of results by working together at community, Ward, Local Government Area (LGA) and state levels. The quality of the SEP will dictate how best monitoring of results can be achieved,” she added.
Speaking further, Dr. Muhammed-Baloni said that at the end of the meeting, a draft SEP will be developed, priority convergent LGAs and wards will be identified and that states and partners will have a good understanding of the SEP processes.
“It is also expected that both the states and partners will agree on geographical prioritization of list of LGAs with Worst Indicators (based on deprivation and child poverty indices) in which UNICEF will support government to deliver services during the next Country Programme period: 2018 to 2022.
“The geographical focus under the SEP will have to define the Wards (where possible, communities) under selected LGAs in which the major UNICEF programme will converge (Education, Health, Nutrition, WASH, Child Protection, HIV and AIDS, C4D).
“The Field Office will plan to reach these LGAs and wards in a phased approach starting from 2018, the need for counterpart contributions and higher government allocations to child-related/social sectors to achieve faster progress than before is fundamental,” she said.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Niger State, said that the hierarchy of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government in the three states are participating in the meeting, to enable them know all the procedures in order to give every necessary support for the success of the programme.
“We are here to witness the plan so that we can be engaged from the commencement to the end, so that when our desks officers are not applying for its execution we will know,” he added.