By Ike Uchechukwu

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has called on 10 states including the FCT to as a matter urgency domesticate the Child Rights Law in order to protect children.

According to organisation this was geared towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target.

This was made known by Boco Abdul, a Knowledge Management Specialist at UNICEF Field Office, Enugu, yesterday during a 4-day training of youth volunteers on real-time monitoring for the child-friendly communities initiative in Biase Local Government Area of Cross River.

According to her, effort must be made to build more educational facilities for children to enable them have easy and effective access to standard education, which is extremely important to UN and UNICEF.

She added that the people should hold government accountable when it’s not living up to expectations adding that UNICEF as an agency was committed to creating child-friendly communities in Nigeria.

Speaking further, she called on the Child-Friendly Communities Initiative volunteers to fully commit themselves to their duties and ensure that they spread the message of child rights, child protection, sustainable health and others as specified in the SDGs to their various communities.

Country Director, United Purpose, Mr Thomas De Douhet, said the project was aimed at achieving a target where “Every birth should be registered.

“Our target is to ensure that every birth is registered, every child should go to school, every child should be receiving all the vaccines and medical treatment he or she needs, every child should know his or her rights, and also nutrition,” he said.

He further disclosed that for the Child-Friendly Communities Initiative, the main goal was to strengthen service delivery around the child.

“Specifically, how do we ensure that children get immunized at the right time; mothers get sensitize to take their children for immunization; mothers are reminded regularly to go for antenatal when they are expecting, and should take the necessary vaccination; children are weight.

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” If you recall there is a particular weight bracket for every child’s age, and it is important for mothers and the community to monitor it.

“The objective of this programme is to bridge that gap between the community and the primary health care center or the service provision.

“A lot of women in the locality where we work give birth at home, and we realized that they don’t go to register the child. So the National Population Commission is not aware that the child is born. Then it means that there’s a problem in our planning and budgeting towards meeting the needs of this child.

“These are some of the sensitization we are doing, but we are not doing it directly ourselves. We are collaborating with the local government. It has set up a committee which comprises of somebody from education, water, women department, health, Population Commission and budget and planning.

“At the community level, we sensitize them and engaged them through key indicators of child growth. We are shaking and stimulating the environment so that the community are sensitized.

“We need community health extension workers in our health centers every month because these persons are responsible for giving us vitamin A, vaccines and all the immunization. If they notice that their children are underweight, they will begin to discuss and ask questions if the children are being given the right food.,” he said .

In his remarks, Vice Chairman of Biase Local Government Council, Barr. Lawson Ekpe, expressed delight that Biase was selected for the pilot project.

He said the Council would key into it and draw from the pool of volunteers in a bid to domesticate the Child-Friendly Communities Initiative.

Ekpe described the training as a veritable tool that creates a solid platform for knowledge, as everything gained in terms of information would serve the volunteers and help them contribute positively towards engendering child-friendly communities in their various locales.

He enjoined the participants to take the training seriously while pledging the council’s support towards the success of the exercise.

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