By Ali Gladima, Bauchi
In accordance with its primary reaponsibilty of supporting women and children, UNCEF Nigeria in collaboration with Bauchi State Government has launched a new project called child friendly community initiative (CFCI) to be implemented in Toro and Zaki Local Governments Areas.
Speaking at a commencement meeting on yesterday in Bauchi , the Chief of UNICEF Field Office Bauchi, Bhanu Pathak said the CFCI project is an integrated approach that will support communities, local governments and traditional institutions with child centred planning and service delivery.
Pathak said children in the state are deprived of basic needs like education, improved water and sanitation, nutrition, immunization and birth registration, stressing that, “the objective of the project is to empower and strengthen the capacity of local governments and rural communities to adopt child centred attitudes , behaviors and practices and improved access to basic services that promote child well being and development”.
“Child friendly initiative is a comprehensive approach that brings all services that a child needs in one community to make it easily accessible to all eligible children within the communities.
According to Phathak, Toro and Zaki local governments were chosen based on the high rate of deprivation in these areas noting that, “it is a 2 years program that can be scale up to other local governments by the state.
The CFCI minimum package include exclusive breastfeeding and Immunization, HIV, Malaria/ Pneumonia, Early Childhood Development and Girls Education and ending Girl Child marriages.
Others areas are safe water and improved sanitation, Birth registration, prevention of violence against children, open defecation free communities and prevention and management of diarrhoea.
The chief of field office said communities need to take the lead to drive the process.
In his remarks at the meeting, State Commissioner of Budget and Planning Commission Dr Aminu Hassan Gamawa said government is concern with the high rate of out of school children and those with severe acute malnutrition which is why it is committed to the provision of quality healthcare and education.
Aminu Gamawa said line ministries, departments and agencies will live up to their responsibility towards the success of the programme.
He also advised for proper monitoring while MDAs should work in synergy pointing out that, ” the state will strive to sustain the programme beyond UNICEF.
There were presentations by UNICEF officers highlighting the current status of children related challenges in comparison to National average.
High point of meeting was the signing of a communique that was developed at the end of the meeting by UNICEF and all the relevant MDAs in the state