By Victor Osae IHIDERO, Sokoto
The work plan which covers Health, Education, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene is set toaccelerate the realization of the rights of children and women to survival, development, protection and participation.
Delivering his address at the signing ceremony, Governor of Sokoto state, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal said UNICEF interventions in all the areas captured in the work plan has come along way in improving the life and health of Sokoto people.
He pledged his government’s commitment to the signed work plan, saying “we appreciate your organisation, and I assure you that whatever we have put our pen and paper to, we are committed to it and we shall by the grace of God execute all the programmes without failure.”
The governor, revealed that the state has already paid it’s counterpart fund, adding “as I speak to you now, I just confirmed that,N1.7 billion has hit the account. This shows that government is hundred percent committed and have fulfilled our own side of the agreement.
Earlier in his remark, Country Representative, UNICEF Nigeria, Mohamed Fall, commended the governor for providing 28% of the state budget for education, thereby becoming the highest among all the states in Nigeria and exceeding the standard setup by UNESCO.
“We have seen this in other areas like Water/Sanitation, like Nutrition, like so many areas that are critical for child survival, child development and child protection.
“The meaning of my presence here today, is to commend you on this and to bring on this and expand and move it forward so that Sokoto will emerge as the most child friendly state among other states of Nigeria.
“And I know that the challenges ahead are big, I just visited a CMAM programme to see how critical malnutrition is still in this area of Nigeria, I know issues of education that we are struggling with, in terms of access, in terms of quality, in terms of teachers availability. I know also that immunisation is an issue.
“Allow me also to commend because last night I was with some friends from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Dangote Foundation, your excellency they spoke very highly about you, about your leadership. They ask me this morning to convey this message to you and that is some of the important messages I want to share with you.
“And am sure with the vision, with the will, with the drive you have set, we will be all mobilised behind you and make sure there is progress and we will reverse all these challenges one by one and in the weeks, in the months and in the years to come situations of children both in terms of survival, in terms of development will significantly improve in Sokoto State. Fall added.
On his part, Mohammad Mohiuddin, UNICEF Sokoto Chief of Field Office, explained that the Work Plan will significantly contribute towards achieving the following key objectives:
“Improved access to and use of high-quality and high-impact Health, Nutrition, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene interventions by children and women.
“Improved access to quality basic education by the most vulnerable boys and girls, and increased school retention, completion and achievement rates for all and demand creation for services provided by the program sectors.”