By; ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna
As part of measures to ensure states government takes full ownership and driving the planning and implementation process of intervention programmes for children and women in their states, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), on Monday, organized a State Engagement Planning (SEP) meeting for Nasarawa, Niger and Kaduna states.
Speaking at the opening of the meeting, Dr. Amina Muhammed-Baloni, Health Specialist UNICEF Kaduna Field Office, explained that SEP is an initiative to strengthen the programme planning processes at the State level.
“This process entails a more in-depth discussion between the State Government Ministries, other partners and UNICEF Field Office, to draw up an annual SEP.
According 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 met 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.
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.
On his part, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Niger State, said the hierarchy of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government in the three states are participating in the meeting, to enable them know all the procedures in order to give every necessary support for the success of the programme.
“We are here to witness the plan so that we can be engaged from the commencement to the end, so that when our desks officers are not applying for its execution we will know.” He added.