As part of measure to get the people of Kebbi State to have first hand idea of the services being provided by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the state government in all 21 local Government Areas (LGAs), an exhibition centre was setup at the just concluded State Advocacy and Community Engagement Workshop in Birnin Kebbi.
The purpose basically according to the organiser was to showcase to the public services met for them with zero cost which they are not taking advantage of.
Speaking on the exhibition, Mohammad Mohiuddin, Chief of UNICEF Sokoto Field Office, noted that despite the availability of the services across the state, the people don’t make use of them.
“You can see that the schools are there, the immunisation facilities are there, the commodities are available, but unfortunately the children are not coming to us to receive those services from the facilities, they are free for both the poor and rich people.
“We organised the exhibition outside the workshop venue in other to display the services so that the people who are from the communities and the remote parts of the state can also know what UNICEF and the government are jointly doing to improve the lives of women and children in State.
“And as part of that, we arranged the centre where the stores where installed for health section, which includes all the supplies and equipments provided for the 21 LGAs of the state, including the communication materials, drugs, equipment, etc.
“In the nutrition also, we displayed the Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM), centre activities, how the Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) is giving to children to recover from severely acute malnutrition. In the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), stand, we displayed how UNICEF is supporting to provide access to rural area population on safe drinking water as well as improving their hygiene and hand wash.
“Same way for education, we brought children and teachers from the schools and demonstrated how the teachings are going in the schools, how the teachers are trained by UNICEF and improve their teaching skills, how the curriculum have been improved, basically is for the community to know that the government is on ground. He said.
On his part, a WASH Specialist with UNICEF Sokoto Field Office, Ebiri Eteng, explained that the concept of the exhibition stand was to ensure that participants at the workshop who are influential people in their various communities, don’t just need to hear presentations in the hall, but should equally get out of the hall to see in practical terms the products available within each programme.
“These products are tangible services that are made available at the community level by either government alone or UNICEF in partnership with government. So we felt that most of the influential persons we are talking about might not have a full grip of the picture of what services we already are made available that are not being accessed.
“The idea of the demo centre is to give an opportunity to the governor and other highly placed, like the traditional and religious leaders to have a first hand vision of what services we renders that are not being accessed fully, so that they begin to have a clear picture that the problem is not the supply of these services, they are available and tangible and can be accessed, but all we need is to get communities, individuals, households, children to begin to access the services.
“So if people are seeing clearly that supply is available, for instance, for WASH programme, we have a wash stand that showcases spare parts of Motorised Boreholes, Solar Motorised Boreholes and Generator Powered Motorised Boreholes and Hand Pumps and people ask questions when they visited, like what exactly they are, if we want to start constructing boreholes? We said no but that they are communities things that are required to repair broken down boreholes.
“Most times they doesn’t cost much, they are things that communities can afford in most cases, but because they don’t know that those things are not expensive, they end up abandoning those facilities, what we did at that centre was to showcase spare parts and their prices, so the people can know about them and take responsibility for their WASH activities. The same thing in all the sections.”
The state Governor, Atiku Bagudu, had after the inauguration of the workshop on Tuesday, along with some of his commissioners, Emirs of Gwandu, Argungu, Yauri, Zulu and other participants visited the exhibition centre to observe the products and services.