The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has again reiterated the need for all stakeholders especially in northern Nigeria to continue to partner with UNICEF to provide support for women and children by addressing their issues and ensuring gender equality in the society.
Chief of Field office, UNICEF, Bauchi, Bhanu Pathak who decried the disadvantaged position of women in the society, stressed that Nigeria has over 13 million out of school children and girl children make up the bulk of the number especially in the Northern States of the country.
Speaking during the 2019 end of year review and planning meeting of stakeholders in programmes supported by UNICEF in Plateau and Bauchi States, Pathak added that UNICEF will focus on the 15 states that have more challenges not only on education, but health sector in the area of immunization, saying there are more children that are not fully immunized in those states.
According to him as the result of the issue of out school children, UNICEF is focusing on selected 15 Northern States that have more challenges on education and health issues, "The 2019 end of year review is to help us focus on our 2020 plan to ensure that out of school children go back to school and become important women and men in the society, so we are developing 2020 work plan, review and amend the rolling work plans 2019/2020 for 2020 programme implementation.
"In the North 60 percent of out school children are girls from the different religious and cultural backgrounds, this States includes Sokoto, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Bauchi, Adamawa, Taraba, Gombe and Kaduna amongst others."
He noted the end of year review meeting with stakeholders is to present the achievements, identify key challenges, analyse causes, provide solution and action plans to address the challenges.
The Stakeholders review is also to brainstorm on child friendly community initiative and create a common understanding on the objectives, strategies, and roll out plans, and agree on a way forward and coordination mechanism at the state and LGA levels to support the implementation and monitoring of the initiative.
Declaring the two days event open, the State Commissioner for Special Duties, Irimiya Werr who represented the Secretary to the State Government, Professor Danladi Atu commended the efforts of UNICEF saying, "the benefits children derive from UNICEF is enormous, the various interventions UNICEF has carried out all these years are commendable. Plateau State will continue to give the needed support to ensure essential projects are implemented."