From Femi Oyelola Kaduna
A group, Carelink Resource Foundation has commended the efforts of Kaduna state Government towards protecting the interest of children, urging the government to ensure that no child was left behind.
The Chief Executive Officer of the NGO, Mr Silas Ideva, made the assertion in a statement to commemorate the 2018 Day of the African Child, and made available to the media in Kaduna yesterday.
Ideva said the day is being celebrated on June 16 every year since it was initiated in 1991 by OAU now AU, in memory of the June 16, 1976, students uprising in Soweto, South Africa.
According to him, Kaduna state has taken several steps to protect and improve the livelihood of children for uninterrupted development to adulthood.
The Theme of the “One of such steps is proving free and compulsory basic education as well as the ongoing reform in the education sector to provide quality education at basic level.
“Others are domestication of the Child Rights Law and adoption of Violence against Children Law to safeguard and protect children against any form of abuse and exploitation.
He said,the theme for this year’s event is: “Leave No Child Behind.”
“The establishment of Kaduna State Emergency Nutrition Action Plan to address the scourge of malnutrition among children in the state was equally laudable,” the statement read in part.
Ideva, however, noted that children in the state were still far from alright, adding that much still needs to be done if children must grow to exploit their full potentials.
“For example, in spite of the state’s free education policy with the attainment increase in enrollment rates, the quality of education and school completion rates are abysmally low.
“The nine-year basic education is faced with poor completion rates of 36.1 per cent and 13 per cent for primary and junior secondary schools respectively, with about 80 per cent primary schools in bad shape.
“Similarly, cases of child marriage, sexual exploitation and all form of child abuse are still rampant in the state “Not only that, Kaduna State has the highest burden of childhood pneumonia and third highest burden of childhood diarrhea among the seven North West states.
“There is equally disturbing indices of malnutrition with 11.7 per cent of children under-five years still suffering from acute malnutrition and 47 per cent suffering from stunted growth,’’ he said.
He blamed the development largely on lack of effective coordination of interventions as well as poor monitoring and evaluation during implementation of policies for maximum result.
He advised the state government to give children a voice during planning and development of policies that involves them; set up an inter-ministerial committee to coordinate children focused activities.
He also called on the state government to ensure coordinated interventions with development partners, civil society organisation, private sector and other relevant stakeholders in meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He also said that the SDGs aim at ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensure all people, including children, enjoy peace and prosperity around the world by 2030.
Ideva said that in the light of the many challenges affecting children in Kaduna state and Nigeria at large, the nation cannot attain the SDGs without meeting the needs of children left behind.
“This is because, as noted by the UN, poverty deprived children of the material, spiritual, and emotional resources needed to survive, develop and thrive.
“It equally deprived them of the needed nutrition, water and sanitation facilities, access to basic health-care services, shelter, education, participation and protection.
“While a severe lack of goods and services hurts every human being, it is most threatening and harmful to children, leaving them unable to enjoy their rights, to reach their full potential and to participate as full members of the society,’’ he said