By Charly Agwam – Bauchi
Bauchi state government and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have launched an intervention titled ‘Child Friendly Communities Initiative (CFCI)’ to support communities, local governments and traditional institutions with child centred planning and service delivery.
Vanguard learned that the CFCI which is an integrated approach will have a package that includes; exclusive breastfeeding and immunization, HIV testing, malaria/pneumonia treatment, early childhood development and girls’ education, and ending girl- child marriages.
Other areas are safe water and improved sanitation, birth registration, prevention of violence against children, open defecation free communities and prevention and management of diarrhoea.
According to UNICEF Chief of Field Office Bauchi, Bhanu Pathak, who spoke at the commencement meeting yesterday in Bauchi, the project will last for 2 years, and can be scaled up to other local government areas by the state government.
He noted that the CFCI approach will be implemented in Toro and Zaki local government areas because of the high rate of deprivation of children in those areas.
“The objectives of this project are 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. We expect benefiting communities to take the lead to drive the process for the overall development of their children,” the UNICEF Chief said.
Reacting, the Bauchi state Commissioner for Budget and Planning Commission, Dr Aminu Hassan Gamawa, while expressing concern at the high rate of out of school children and severe acute malnutrition in the state, said the Bauchi state government will contribute its quota to ensure that the project is successful and sustained.