By Victor Osae IHIDERO
Following the need to improve the lives of children and women in Kebbi State, the Kebbi State Government and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Wednesday said they are committed to working together to implement the plans in the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), and to achieve the deliverables set out as UNICEF’s contribution in the Framework
A Joint Annual Work Plan 2017, signed by the government and UNICEF is worth 3.87 Billion Naira covering Health, Nutrition, Education, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Sectors towards accelerating the realization of the rights of all children and women to survival, development, protection and participation.
This was made known in a statement made available by Rabiu Musa, UNICEF’s Communication specialist.
According to the statement, the Action Plan, was also a contribution to the attainment of the State and by extension, the national development aspirations towards the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other internationally agreed development frameworks.
“The signed Work Plan 2017 is aimed at accelerating the realization of the rights of all children and women to survival, development, protection and participation. The sector work plans will specifically contribute towards achieving the following key objectives: (a) Improved access to and use of high-quality and high-impact Health, Nutrition, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene interventions by children and women; (b) Improved access to quality basic education by the most vulnerable boys and girls, and increased school retention, completion and achievement rates for all and (c) demand creation for services provided by the program sectors.
“The status of socio-demographic and development indicator in the state needs to be improved where Under-five Mortality Rate is 210/1,000 (NDHS, 2013), 57.6% children are stunted (SS, 2015), 33.2% children underweight (SS, 2105) and exclusive breastfeeding for (0-5 months child) is only 10.3% (SMART survey, 2014). Ante natal care provided by skilled personnel is 47.7% (SS, 2015), while assistance during delivery by skilled personnel is 15.3% (SS, 2015).
“For education, out of school children at primary level accounts for 69% (OOSC Study 2012), net attendance ratio at primary level is 22.3% (NEDS, 2015). Under Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, 21% of the state population has access to improved water source, 55% have access to non-shared improved sanitation facility and 4.9% use soap for hand washing (NDHS, 2013).
“The socio-demographic factors above are unacceptable as there exists proven interventions to address the challenges in each Sector. What is required is a strong government political commitment with more budget allocation, timely release of committed counterpart funds and collaboration with development partners towards implementing activities outlined in the work plan.
“The 2017 Annual Work Plan (AWP), which was jointly developed by the State and UNICEF offers a huge opportunity in improving the indicators provided all parties fulfil their commitments in the work plan.” The statement added.
In his remarks at event, Kebbi State Governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu said UNICEF is a key partner collaborating with Kebbi state over many years.
“We are committed to partnering with UNICEF and other UN agencies to set our priorities together for improved human development in Kebbi state. The state welcomes partners like UNICEF to work together to reach communities in hard to reach and the marginalized children in every part of the state.” He said.
He assured timely release of counterpart funding with a call to ensure that funds are utilized within the time frame of the agreement. The governor has revealed that Kebbi state in the last 19 month has invested heavily in agriculture and by extension to address child malnutrition and food insecurity.
Mohammad Mohiuddin, the Chief of Sokoto Field Office, was represented by Aye Aye, a Communication Specialist (C4D) at the occasion.
2017 AWP total Contribution is Kebbi State N 595,462,990 (60% increase from 2016) and UNICEF
N 3,279,402,771 (201% increase from 2016).