By Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), on Thursday, promised more support for Kaduna State government on the improvement of the livelihood of women and children in the state.
Mr Claes Johansson, UNICEF’s Chief Planning and Monitoring Section, Country Office, Abuja, gave the promise in Kaduna, at the opening of UNICEF and Kaduna State 2020 End-of-Year Review and Planning Meeting.
Johansson said that UNICEF’s presence in the state was to support the government plans and vision of putting people first, adding that it would be glad to find more support for the state.
He said the Fund would continue to support the state in putting the needs of children and women first and at the centre of its development agenda.
“Our support in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH, child protection, education, nutrition and health, among other sectors, will continue because we are here to support and respond to your needs.
“We will work with you to find more opportunities and look at what we can do differently in 2021 from the lessons learnt in 2020 and find different ways of working together across sectors,” he said.
The Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Kaduna, Dr Zakari Adam, said that UNICEF had expended over N853.4 million in different sectors in the state from January to October.
Adam added that the support would amount to more than a billion naira by the end of the year.
He said that N250.7 million was expended on health and HIV/AIDS, N6.2 million on nutrition and N35.8 million on communication for development and polio communication.
“Others are child protection, N65.8 million; WASH, N475.2 million and basic education N14.9 million, while N4.8 million was spent on social policy and planning as well as monitoring and evaluation.
“Financial and technical support are ongoing, and the figure will be over a billion naira by the end of 2020,” he said.
Mr Thomas Gyang, Commissioner, Planning and Budget Commission, thanked UNICEF for contributing immensely to the developmental strides of the state government.
Gyang, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the commission, Mr Mahmoud Yamusa, pointed out that Kaduna, like other states, had suffered the socio-economic impact of COVID-19.
He said that women and children were the worst affected and were currently facing multiple deprivations and challenges, with many rooted in poverty and inequality, vulnerable diseases, malnutrition and lack of education.
“The government of Kaduna State, over the years, has demonstrated commitment towards ensuring improved funding for programmes in the state.
“This is aimed at improving the situation of the residents, with special attention to children and women,” the commissioner said.
On his part, the state Commissioner for Human Services and Social Development, Hajiya Hafsat Baba, also thanked UNICEF for supporting the ministry to reach out to children and women in the state.
Baba disclosed that UNICEF had recently donated equipment for the setting up of Child Protection Information Management System to address the issue of data in child protection.
She also appreciated the support on data generation, profiling and tracking of the alamjiris in the state.
Baba appealed for more technical support, training and retraining on how to effectively protect children in the state.
Similarly, the state Commissioner of Education, Dr Shehu Makarfi, appealed for more support in the basic education sector to address the infrastructural deficit hampering quality education in the state.