UNICEF to provide quality child protection services for vulnerable children in Kaduna
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has pledged continued partnership with Kaduna State Government to reach vulnerable children across the state with quality child protection services.
UNICEF Child protection Services, Dr Wilfred Mamah, stated this in Kaduna on Wednesday, at the official inauguration of cash disbursement to 2,674 Almajiri children, under the Children in Street Situation programme.
Mamah added that the partnership would also ensure that all vulnerable children were protected against all forms of abuse, violence, and neglect.
He explained that the Children in Street Situation Programme, was under the European Union-funded Strengthening Access to Justice for Children on the Move and other Vulnerable Children project.
He pointed out that COVID-19 has brought to the front burner the heightened vulnerability of children on the street, especially Almajiri children who lack parental support and care.
He said that the long history of informal guardianship arrangement of the Almajiri system exposes the children to violence, abuse, and neglect, hampering their rights to life, survival, and development.
According to him, the state’s response that saved the lives of these children at the height of COVID-19 will remain the reference point for humane re-unification of Almajiri and children in street situation with their families.
“UNICEF’s partnership with the state through the Ministry for Human Services and Social Development (MHSSD), recorded the highest number of successful re-unifications of 10,817Almajiri children, the highest in the country.
“This life-saving reunification of the children was captured using the innovative Child Protection Information Management (CPIMS) tool.”
He explained that the Children in Street Situation and Adolescent Girls programme were being implemented in the state following the success of the reunification programme.
The child protection specialist said that so far, a total of 209,950 children in street situations including adolescent girls have been captured in the CPIMS, based on their vulnerability.
He said that the figure comprised 105,726 Almajiri children outside family care and 104,224 out of school adolescent girls.
According to him, the Almajiri children situation and the scenario that characterize it remain one of the critical drivers of out-of-school children in the state.
“It is to reverse this trend that UNICEF is collaborating with the MHSSD and other stakeholders to deliver critical services to the re-united Almajiri children and facilitate their full integration with their communities.
“So far, we have been able to deliver key services to the 2,674 Almajiri children that remained at home after the re-unifications.”
He identified the services as the setting up of children’s bank accounts for N5,000 monthly Cash Transfer, and enrollment and issuance of National Identification Number.
The other services, he said, include the acquisition of legal identification and birth registration, enrolment in school and provision of school uniforms and learning materials.
“We are hoping that these initial services would be a springboard for further delivery of more concrete assistance to these children, including adolescent girls, that will enhance human capital development in the state,” he said.
Mamah appealed to Gov. Nasir El-Rufai to consider the urgent release of a matching grant for the programme as promised at the commencement of the project.
This, according to him, will enable the state government to scale up the intervention to fully integrate all children in the communities to fully harness their potentials.
Earlier, the Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Dr Hadiza Balarabe thanked UNICEF, other development partners and stakeholders for supporting the initiative.
Balarabe, who was represented by Mr James Kanyi, Deputy Chief of Staff to El-Rufai, said that the each of the 2,674 Almajiri would receive N5,000 monthly as cash transfer.
She added that there was already a plan to increase the amount to N10,000 in subsequent months, with a view to ensure that the children are enrolled and kept in schools.
“Under the programme, the National Population Commission is providing the children with birth certificates; Kaduna SUBEB is providing reading materials, while Keystone Bank opened accounts for the beneficiaries.
“Kaduna State Residents Identity Management Agency is registering and enrolling the children with National Identification Number (NIN) while UNICEF is providing the funds for the cash disbursement,” she said.