UNICEF Strengthens Engagement Plan for Kaduna, Others

Zainab Tanimu – Kaduna, NIGERIA

In a bid to accelerate achievement results in the planning and implementation process of intervention programs for children and women by state governments, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF),  had organized a State Engagement Planning (SEP) meeting for Nasarawa, Niger and Kaduna states.

Addressing the meeting, the Health Specialist UNICEF Kaduna Field Office, Dr. Amina Muhammed-Baloni,  explained that SEP is an initiative put in place to strengthen the programme planning processes at the State level.

The process she said entails a more in-depth discussion between the State Government Ministries, other partners and UNICEF Field Office, to draw up an annual SEP.

“Focus is on how to accelerate achievement of results by working together at community, Ward, Local Government Area (LGA) and state levels. The quality of the SEP will dictate how best monitoring of results can be achieved”. She added.

According to her, the reason for the meeting is to provide the States with information on the new UNICEF country programme focus for 2018-2022. It is also meant to have an understanding of new engagement process to accelerate achievement of results- through State Engagement Planning (SEP).

“To identify and agree with partners on convergent LGAs and wards for the implementation of the SEP.

To develop the SEP across the key sectors with focus on identified convergent LGAs.

She said at the end of the meeting, a draft State Engagement Plan will be developed.  Priority convergent LGAs and wards will be identified and that states and partners will have a good understanding of the State Engagement Planning processes.

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It is also expected that both the states and partners will agree on geographical prioritization of list of LGAs with Worst Indicators (based on deprivation and Child poverty indices) in which UNICEF will support government to deliver services during the next Country Programme period (2018-2022).

The geographical focus under the SEP will have to define the Wards (where possible, Communities) under selected LGAs in which the major UNICEF programme will converge (Education, Health, Nutrition, WASH, Child Protection, HIV and AIDS, C4D).

“The Field Office will plan to reach these LGAs and wards in a phased approach starting from 2018.  The need for counterpart contributions and higher government allocations to child-related/social sectors to achieve faster progress than before is fundamental. Dr. Amina added.

While speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Niger State said, the participation of hierarchy of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government in the three states has not only offered them the  opportunity to know all the procedures but would also enhance them in giving the needed support for the success of the programme.

While assuring their commitments for a better result, the desks officers would be given a close watch to ensure compliance.  He added

“We are here to witness the plan so that we can be engaged from the commencement to the end”.