By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
The United Nations Children Funds (UNICEF) has said that early child hood development is key to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
UNICEF representative, Mohamed Malik Fall, stated this yesterday during the National Early Childhood Conference in Abuja.
Speaking at the programme themed; “Investing Early in Every Nigerian Child”, he said the country puts children at the risk of under development both physically and mentally.
He said critical national policies are not providing adequate foundation for children growth.
“During the first years of child’s life, the brain grows rapidly; providing good nutrition, loving care and appropriate play provides solid foundations for child’s learning and eventual contribution to economic and social growth.
He said that UNICEF is committed to working with the federal government and relevant partners to increase support for children.
“Our aim is to ensure that all Nigerian Children have basic life. That is why we have outlines three policies that can give parents the time and resources needed to support their young children’s healthy development.”
He said the recommended policies are: two years of free pre-primary education, six months of paid maternity leave and four weeks of paid paternity leave.
The UNICEF representative said “Nigeria currently has just three months of paid maternity leave, only one year of pre- primary education and no paternity leave. Also, only about one in every 10 pre- primary children are enrolled in early education activities.
He said the UNICEF will collaborate with relevant partners to help the Nigerian Child and the society at large.