The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has disclosed plans for a five-year programme (2023-2027) to ensure the development and protection of children from all forms of abuse and exploitation.
UNICEF communication specialist, Dr. Geoffrey Njoku made this known at a two day Training of Trainers (TOT) on Child Rights Reporting Curriculum (CRRC) and media dialogue organised
by the Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB) of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in collaboration with UNICEF in Enugu.
Njoku said the programme will focus majorly on the vulnerable children, explained that the country programme of the UNICEF will cover four major components to include child survival in terms of health, nutrition, water and sanitation; basic education; child protection; social policy and gender equality.
He said that Nigeria still have highest number of out-of-school children, as an estimated 26. 5 percent of primary school age children are not in formal school of which 60 percent are girls. He added that high levels of violence and abuse against children in Nigeria is on the rise, including recruitment by non-state armed groups.
He equally noted that the govenrnent-funded social protection systems is limited, reaching only a fraction of the poor and vulnerable, an estimated 10.4 percent of the population.
The Communication specialist further explained that UNICEF aims at changing persistent gender inequalities, insufficient government expenditure that leads to out-of-pocket expenditure and limitations in state and local government human resource capacity.
He added that the UNICEF will strengthen systems at national and sub-national levels to eliminate poverty, malnutrition, ensure education, protect children; support the timely delivery of humanitarian assistance; engage with the private sector, among others.
Also speaking, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Enugu, Juliet Chiluwe said a broad range of abuses against children emanates from ignorance of what constitutes child’s right. She enthused that the workshop will broaden the scope of knowledge and exposure of the communication students and practitioners of Mass Communication by way of infusion of the Child Rights concerns, which are also topical concerns for human development.
While congratulating the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU), Awka Anambra State for taking the first step to further mainstream child rights curriculum by electing the CRRC as a general studies course, making it compulsory for in-school mass communicators, she urged other partnering Universities and communication institutions to emulate the feat as recorded by NAU in the interest of fostering child rights reportage in Nigeria.