By Philip Yatai
Abuja, – Save the Children International (SCI), an NGO, on Wednesday engaged lawmakers from Kaduna and Zamfara states to seek their commitment towards improving social protection programme in the country.
SCI CDGP National Programme Manager, Karina Lopez-Enye, said at the opening of the one-day dialogue in Abuja, that the meeting was crucial in ensuring successful implementation of social protection programme in the states.
Lopez-Enye explained that the social protection programme was being implemented by SCI in Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano and Zamfara states under the Child Development Grant Programme, Phase II (CDGP II).
She explained that SCI, with funding from United Kingdom Agency for International Development had implemented Phase I of the programme, a Cash Plus for nutrition programme in Jigawa and Zamfara states with huge success.
She added that the aim of the programme was to contribute to the reduction of high malnutrition level in northern part of the country.
“A total of 93,000 pregnant women in 630,105 households were supported with N4,000 each until the baby is two years old, amounting to a total of N11 billion expended from 2014 to 2019.
“Also, 85,000 babies were born within the period benefited, while 1,683,227 households benefited from the Social Behavioural Change Communication on child health nutrition.
“Some of the successes include improved consumption of variety of food that improve women and children diet, reduced risk coping behaviours and improved knowledge on maternal and childcare nutrition for improved cognitive development.
“The programme also improved the wellbeing of the women and children and increase women choices through improved knowledge and attitude,” she said.
The programme manager said that the initiative has produced the needed evidence on the impact of the programme and lessons on how the programme delivery could be strengthened.
She said that the Phase II of the programme, recently launched and extended to Kaduna and Kano states would, therefore, focus on system strengthening, evidence generation, advocacy and capacity building.
According to her, the CDGP II placed particular emphasis on child nutrition sensitive social protection in the benefiting states.
She pointed out that the legislators have a key role to play in the formulation and implementation of social protection policies in their respective states.
“The meeting will, therefore, increase legislators’ understanding of their role towards effective delivery of social protection programme and what it means for the poor and vulnerable Nigerians.
“It will also showcase the positive impacts of social protection and how it is changing the lives of the poor and vulnerable in Nigerian communities.
“As such, engaging the legislators will provide them with the necessary information to improve their understanding of social protection issues and how to contribute their quota.
“It also provides an avenue to seek their commitment on the formation of a legislative forum to move the social protection programme forward,” she said.
Also speaking, Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Investment, Mrs Maryam Uwais, commended SCI for the laudable initiative, which according to her, is improving the well being of women and children.
Uwais pointed out that the Federal Government was implementing some social protection programmes such as the school feeding, N-power, cash transfer and trader money to support people live better.
According to her, poverty has no politics or religion and appealed to the lawmakers to support in ensuring the success of the programme through effective monitoring and oversights.