By Segun Awofadeji
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with the Bauchi State Government and Fahimta Women and Youth Initiative (FAWOYDI) has commenced a five-day training for 60 youth volunteers on real-time monitoring for the Child Friendly Community Initiative (CFCI) in Toro Local Government Area of Bauchi State.
The CFCI is a UNICEF-led initiative that supports local governments in realising the rights of children at the local level using the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as its foundation.
THISDAY checks revealed that 120 youth volunteers were selected across the 20 communities, where six youths per community are responsible for growth monitoring and promotion exercise, house mapping and many other activities.
Speaking on the aims of the programme, the Programme Specialist, Convergence, UNICEF, Abuja, Bhawna Vajpai, explained that in partnership with state and local governments, CSO- FAWOYDI, communities and support from IHS Nigeria Limited, UNICEF’s CFCI aims to help accelerate tangible and sustained improvements for children with a view to helping Nigeria achieve its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
According to her, “All children have the right to grow up in an environment where they feel safe and secure. They have access to basic services and clean water. They can play, learn and grow, and their voice is heard and matters.
“Building a friendly community, LGA or state is a continuous process. CFCI initially rolled out in 20 communities of Toro Ward in Toro Local Government Area of Bauchi State. But through real-time monitoring and commitment with state governments, the initiative is expected to be replicated across other wards based on demonstrable benefits to children and communities.
“CFCI will be accelerated across Nigeria with the active engagement and support of a diverse range of of stakeholders including government, the private sector, community-based institutions, CSOs, media and others.”
In his remarks at the opening ceremony of the training held at Zaranda Hotel in Bauchi Wednesday, the UNICEF Chief of Field Office, Bauchi, Tushar Rane, said that the child friendly volunteers programme is aimed at empowering communities to achieve the set objectives of child survival through routine immunization and other health-related issues.
He said that the programme is in alignment with the ‘Generation Next’ project, which is focused on the development of the child from infancy to adulthood, by ensuring that every necessary health activity was duly followed and adhered to.
“UNICEF is spending huge money on the empowerment of various communities where it is present because the aim is to promote healthy living especially for women and children. We commenced the programme in Bauchi State as the state is doing well in the child friendly programme. The experience here is very impressive, it is a good initiative. Other states are copying what is happening here,” he said.