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February 27, 2024
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SCI seeks more investments, synergy in achieving children’s rights, SDGs

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By Angela Atabo

An NGO, Save the Children International Nigeria, has called for more investments as well as synergy to achieve children’s rights and Sustainable Development Goals especially as they relate to children in Nigeria.

Mr Ebrima Saidy, Chief Impact Officer, SCI, made the call at a news briefing on Wednesday in Abuja .

According to Saidy, the primary duty bearer and the responsible entity to deliver children’s rights is the government therefore.

He, therefore, said that SCI’s role was to complement the efforts of the governments at all levels to achieve the goal of providing the rights for children .

Saidy said that in 2022 ,SCI’s programme reached more than 24.4 million children and families in over 70 Local Government Areas in 17 States of the Federation.

According to him, the NGO has been providing life-saving humanitarian assistance  and responding to emergencies.

He said that since January 2023,SCI had reached out to more than 1,590,047 individuals, comprising 64 per cent children .

Saidy said he visited some SCI works sites in Nigeria and was impressed by the success rate of projects impacting on children.

They include stabilisation centres where children suffering from severe acute malnutrition were being treated with an average success rate of 94 to 95 per cent .

He said, “It makes me very proud and positive that we can indeed achieve our breakthroughs in Nigeria that no child dies from preventable causes before their fifth birthday.

“Every child is able to access and learn from good quality education, and that violence against children is no longer tolerated anywhere in any household or any community.

“We are going through a strategy refresh process, trying to figure out what the next 10 years of achieving impact in Nigeria look like for SCI.

*In partnership with the government and communities, we are really excited about the opportunities that are provided for us. ”

Saidy said that there were a lot of SDGs indicators that would be achieved like; access to education.

He added,”But, with the indicators around quality of education, we may not be able to achieve that by the year 2030 and that’s not just in Nigeria, but also in many countries around the world.

“This is because of the quality of instruction, the resourcing of schools, the resourcing of teachers, the enabling environment for teachers to provide good quality education, and the infrastructure that is required. We are still way behind on a number of these.”

Saidy said that the case was similar in the health sector ,which is strong in some states but relatively weak in others, saying, “so we are not quite there.

“We are committed to the SDGs.We know from the data where we are doing well and where we are not doing well.

“I think the right thing to do is to identify the areas that we are not doing very well and increase government investment in those areas, and coordinate the work of NGOs and the work of the development partners, to say everybody all hands on deck. ”

According to Saidy, working together under the coordination of the government would make it possible to make significant strides to get close to the SCI target as possible by the year 2030.

” It is not too late for us. We are still optimistic that we may not achieve all but we can still push the boundaries as best as possible, but we have to partner to work better together.

“We have to complement each other. We all bring different expertise and different roles and responsibilities; it is about including the children and the communities that we work in.

“We need to work better with the government. We need to work better with donors and our development partners.

“We want to be able to raise more funding to be able to increase the amount of states that we work in, but also the depth of our work in some of the states that are very, very deprived, “he said .

Saidy said that Nigeria contributed one of the largest number of early child and forced marriages and out- schooldays children to the global caseload .

He said that all the children deserved a better future so the rights of children should be fully protected and fulfilled.

This is through the creation and adoption of suitable policies ,strategies, plans and making sure that those frameworks were budgeted for and implemented to transform children’s lives.

Saidy said that there was the need to put checks in place to protect children especially from the diphtheria outbreak.

He added, “Since Nigeria already has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the world as only 42 per cent of children under 15 in Nigeria are fully protected from diphtheria.

“SCI therefore , calls for a launching of a wide-scale health response with mass vaccination campaigns across the worst hit areas.

“It is also appealing to donors to support the comprehensive response being launched by the government and Humanitarian actors to support local health services to combat diphtheria.”(NAN)

Edited by Bashir Rabe Mani

Philip Daniel Yatai

Principal Correspondent, NAN Abuja
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