By Justina Auta
An international NGO, SOS Children’s Villages, on Tuesday, says the group is supporting the Federal Government to develop framework for alternative care for vulnerable children in Nigeria.
Mr Chinweba Ezeigwe, the organisation’s Head of Advocacy, Brand and Communication, disclosed this during a two-day media engagement and capacity building workshop for journalists in Abuja.
Ezeigwe said strengthening the legal framework for alternative care for children in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child would ensure sustainable quality care for vulnerable children in the country.
“The major investment we need to make as a country will be to improve frameworks.
“We need to begin to hold conversations around enacting and implementing laws, not just at the national level but other supporting policies and guidelines on alternative care of children.
“And other frameworks that will help improve the conditions and ensure that the rights of the vulnerable children are protected.
“To implement the Child’s Rights Act, you need other enabling procedures that will enable you implement the Acts, for example there is UN guidelines on alternative care for children.
“We are supporting the Federal Government to contextualise the guidelines to have a national guideline on alternative care for vulnerable children.
“We are working with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and the Minister and Permanent Secretary have just set up a national alternative care committee, which SOS Children’s Villages is a member.
“These are some of the platforms we use to build capacity of key players in social development sector and this is the way we can be sure that these instruments are properly implemented,” he said.
He added that the organisation since 1973 had provided solutions to children without parental care, strengthening families, working in emergencies and engaging in high level advocacies.
This, he said, was to improve the lives of vulnerable children, especially children without parental care.
“We have been able to implement programmes around alternative care for children, where we have impacted the lives of over 600 Nigerian children.
“Our family strengthening programmes currently has participants numbering over 15,000 beneficiaries.
“We also engage in youth development programmes, where we partner both the corporate entities and the government to ensure that young people have their capacity strengthened and children given the opportunity that allows them become self-sustaining and contributing members of the society.”
Mrs Ndeyang Gyang, a Reporter with NTA, said the programme had broadened her perspective on the need for an alternative care option.
She added that it also widened her perspective on the SOS Children’s Villages’ quality alternative care and ensuring the right environment and protection was provided for the Nigerian child.
Similarly, Mustapha Alkali of Sandal Laura Radio International, Maiduguri, said the workshop had increased his knowledge on the organisation’s mandates in alternative care for vulnerable children and the laws protecting the rights of children.(NAN)