By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
Worried by the level of insecurity in the country and its effects on children, an international nongovernmental organization, Save the Children, has called on governments at all levels, communities and families to provide conducive environment for children to learn.
Already, the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) recently revealed that about 13.2 million children of school age are currently out of school and lack access to learning facilities.
The statistics claimed that thousands of such kids are currently roaming the streets, particularly in the northern part of the country.
While speaking to mark the NGO’s 100 years anniversary, the Country Director, Save the Children Nigeria, Benjamin Foot, expressed worry over the plight of children, saying despite the success stories in same places, more needs to be done.
“The major reasons why childhood comes to an early end are significantly because of Malnutrition, exclusion from education, child labor, child marriage, early pregnancy and violent death. In the year 2000, an estimated 970 million children were robbed of their childhoods due to these causes. That number today has been reduced to 690 million meaning at least, 280 million children are better off today than they would have been two decades ago.
“Child marriage is a good illustrator of the reality of children in West and Central Africa. When a girl is married young, she is robbed of her childhood. She has an increased risk of poor health outcomes, having children at younger age, dropping out of school, experiencing violence in the home, having restricted physical mobility, limited decision making ability, and earning less over her lifetime. Many factors interact to place a girl at risk of early marriage. Poverty, weak laws and enforcement, the perception that marriage will provide “protection” family honor, customs or religious laws that condone the practice, and unequal gender norms that prioritize women’s roles as wives”.
He further said that children were exposed to violence at the early stage in most African countries and the Middle East.
He said, Save the children’s “stop the war on Children” Report disclosed that more children are living in areas affected by arm conflicts than at any time over the past two decades. At least, 550,000 babies are thought to have died as a result of armed conflict between 2013 and 2017 in the 10 worst affected countries.
To this end, the NGO called for building of sustainable livelihoods.
Speaking during the presentation of the “Household Economic Analysis: Strengthened Community Resilience Through Improved Early Warnings and Response Systems in Nigeria”, the organisation’s Head of Food Security and and Livelihood, Chachu Tadicha, said “the situation in the country calls for investment in sustainable livelihood.”
He said Save the Children is currently helping people in Borno, Jigawa, Katsina, Zamfara and Bauchi, to build their livelihood and help them out of the challenges in those states.
Tadicha, said the choice of those states was as a result of high rate of malnutrition.
Peoples Daily recalls that the states have also been facing various security challenges, ranging from Boko Haram, Bandits and kidnapping.
Speaking further on the analysis, he said Household Economy Analysis (HEA) is a robust livelihood based framework that helps in understanding of how households in different socio-economic groups get the food and cash they need; their assets, opportunities open to them, constraints they face during crisis and their coping ability.
“The analysis showed the relationships among different groups and different areas, providing distribution within a community and who gets what from where. HEA was picture of how wealth is developed on the principle that information about events that affect a particular area or – community such as late rains, economic reforms, rising food prices, falling cattle prices, closure of farm settlements, can only be properly interpreted if seen against the context of how people normally live.
“Therefore, to understand and address the impact of any significant change on households such as changes, climate, market, political shocks, programme interventions, a proper analysis of their livelihoods is essential policy on food security as well as livelihood situation in Nigeria and hence would be a decision making tool for the stakeholders in planning for interventions.
“HEA is a key element of the Harmonized Framework; Cadre Harmonise, which is the analysis of food and nutrition insecurity in Nigeria. As an early warning and response mechanism, it would provide prior information to decision makers/stakeholders providing answers to key question around food shortages and livelihood like; who is affected, where is most affected, how many people are affected, when will shortages occur and also the reason why it occurred.
Also speaking, HEA Coordinator in Nigeria, Nelson O. Yidawi, said the scheme provides the starting point for analysing vulnerability, helping to identify the particular risks to which the various socio-economic groups are vulnerable to, and therefore the circumstances in which they are likely to experience food/livelihood insecurity in the future.
“It is very useful in the planning of social protection interventions and would provide vital information towards the current social safety net programme by going beyond poverty analysis to proposing adequate measure/modification to ensure success. It can also be used in evaluating the impact of the intervention.
“Northern Nigeria is prone to drought which combined with the current insecurity and rising prices of both food/non-food items due to inflation, results in slow onset of crisis. HEA provides a framework by which we can analyse the effect of these shocks and as well highlight appropriate intervention/support to address them. It provides both qualitative and quantitative information on food security as well as livelihood situation in Nigeria and hence would be a decision making tool for the stakeholders in planning for interventions.
“HEA is a key element of the Harmonized Framework; Cadre Harmonise, which is the analysis of food and nutrition insecurity in Nigeria. As an early warning and response mechanism, it would provide prior information to decision makers/stakeholders providing answers to key question around food shortages and livelihood like; who is affected, where is most affected, how many people are affected, when will shortages occur and why?
“HEA enables decision makers to predict communities vulnerability to crises and shocks like drought, increases in food prices, pestilence etc. HEA will help them anticipate hazards that could cause food shortages and other emergencies. With this information, they can design enough development programmes and introduce policies that will provide a coping mechanism for populations within identified locations. It can also support social protection interventions.