Group photo during the official opening of the Almajiri cash rebate to 2,674 children, as part of the Street Children program in Kaduna State.
The The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is committed to continuing its partnership with the Kaduna State Government to reach vulnerable children across the state with quality child protective services.
dr. Wilfred Mamah UNICEF Child Protection Services said as much on Wednesday in Kaduna, during the official launch of street children cash transfer to 2,674 children in Almajiri.
Mamah added that the partnership would also ensure that all vulnerable children are protected from all forms of abuse, violence and neglect.
He explained that the Street Children Program came under the grant from the National Committee for UK.
He noted that COVID-19 has highlighted the heightened vulnerability of street children, especially Almajiri children who lack parental support and care.
He said the Almajiri system’s long history of informal guardianship arrangements exposes children to violence, abuse and neglect, impeding their rights to life, survival and development.
According to him, the state response that saved the lives of these children in the midst of covid-19 will continue to be the benchmark for the human reunification of almajiros and street children with their families.
“UNICEF’s alliance with the state across the Ministry of Social Services and Social Development (MSSSD)recorded the highest number of successful reunifications of 10,817 Almajiri children, the highest in the country.
“This life-saving reunification of children was captured using the innovative Child Protection Information Management Tool (CPIMS) tool.”
He explained that the programs for street children and adolescent girls are being implemented in the state after the success of the reunification program.
The child protection specialist said that to date, a total of 209,950 street children, including adolescents, have been captured in the CPIMS, based on their vulnerability.
He said that figure was made up of 105,726 Almajiro children not in family care and 104,224 out-of-school adolescent girls.
According to him, the situation of the children of Almajiri and the scenario that characterizes it continue to be one of the critical drivers of the school drop-out of children in the state.
“It is to reverse this trend that UNICEF is working with the SMSSD and other stakeholders to provide essential services to the reunited Almajiri children and facilitate their full integration into their communities.
“So far, we have been able to provide essential services to the 2,674 Almajiri children who have been left at home after the reunifications.
He identified services as setting up bank accounts for children for a monthly cash transfer of N5,000, and registration and issuance of national identification number.
Other services, he said, include obtaining legal identification and birth registration, school registration and the provision of school uniforms and teaching materials.
“We hope these initial services will be a springboard for more targeted assistance to these children, including adolescent girls, which will enhance human capital development in the state,” he said.
Mamah appealed to the governor Nasir El-Rufai consider urgently releasing a matching grant for the program as promised at the start of the project.
According to him, this will enable the state government to scale up the intervention to fully integrate all children into the communities to make the most of their potential.
Previously, the Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Dr. Hadiza Balarabethanked UNICEF, other development partners and stakeholders for supporting the initiative.
Balarabe, who was represented by Kanyi, El-Rufai’s deputy chief of staff, said each of the 2,674 Almajiri would receive 5,000 naira per month as a cash transfer.
He added that there was already a plan to increase the amount to 10,000 naira in the following months, with a view to ensuring that the children are enrolled and remain in school.
“Under this program, the National Population Commission provides children with birth certificates; Kaduna SUBEB provides reading materials, while Keystone Bank opened accounts for beneficiaries.
“The Kaduna State Resident Identity Management Agency registers and enrolls children with National Identification Number (NIN) while UNICEF provides the funds for cash disbursement,” he said.
Source of credit: NOPE