By Esenvosa Izah, Lagos
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has reached a pact with IHS Nigeria, a subsidiary of IHS Towers, a telecommunication service provider, to promote rural community children well-being.
UNICEF’s Nigeria Representative, Mr Peter Hawkins, who made this known in a statement on Monday in Lagos, said the project was in support of its Child Friendly Community Initiative (CFCI).
Hawkins said UNICEF was also working with government towards empowering local governments, rural communities, local development councils as well as religious and traditional leaders to support rural children.
He commended IHS Towers for its interest in partnering the UNICEF to boost rural community children development.
The representative said the aim was to adopt child-centred attitudes, behaviours and practices to improve access to basic services that could promote child well-being and development.
According to him, children and women in Nigeria face multiple deprivations and challenges that are mainly rooted in poverty and inequality.
He said that many were already vulnerable to disease, malnutrition, lack of education and numerous violations of their rights.
“UNICEF’s aim for the Child Friendly Community Initiative is to help accelerate tangible and sustained improvements for children in rural Nigeria.
“These children are consistently experiencing the highest level of deprivation and poverty; they tend to suffer from multiple deprivations that are often mutually reinforcing,” he aid.
Hawkins further said that UNICEF believed that a holistic and integrated approach was required to actively support communities and local governments with child-centred planning and service delivery.
He said that such a holistic approach would inform decision-making and corresponding attitudes, capable of triggering better outcomes for children.
“Communities will be sensitised on child rights and child-centred attitudes, behaviours and practices and means of improving access to basic services that promote child well-being and development.
“Community level structures and institutions will also be strengthened through training to actively plan, manage services and maintain created assets,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Mohamad Darwish, IHS Towers Co-founder, Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer, IHS Nigeria, has commended UNICEF’s efforts in driving the initiative.
Darwish said that the company stood on four cardinal principles of ethics, people, environment and education.
“These have been critical in driving our sustainability efforts within the local communities we operate.
“We are delighted to partner the UNICEF in addressing the needs of the most vulnerable individuals, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”
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