UNICEF endorses Sokoto for social protection programs

The United Nations International Children’s Fund confirmed Sokoto State as one of the few states to have obtained a roadmap for the successful implementation of social protection activities.

A UNICEF social protection officer, Malam Isa Ibrahim, said so during the closing meeting of the Joint Sustainable Development Goals Project with stakeholders in Sokoto.

He explained that with the successes recorded at the end of the project, the state government got a clear guide and policy direction for social protection activities with clear targets for vulnerable people in the state.

Ibrahim said, “With a full framework on the ground and competent government staff with the right skills during project closure, we are confident that even without development partners, the government of Sokoto will implement a successful social protection program. without seeking external support.

“We obtained the government’s commitment to develop a social protection policy and a commitment to improve the budgetary allocation to social protection.

“Before this project, various social interventions were implemented in Sokoto State. However, this program was able to coordinate and bring together all key ministries and departments with critical actors on one platform.

“Mechanisms have been formulated with empowered workforce for successful cash transfer exercise, health supports and other aspects of social protection with correct sustainability plans.”

According to him, the United Nations considered Sokoto State as a pilot for a social protection program in recognition of the poverty index of the authorities which classified the state as a high prevalence area.

He noted that poverty robs citizens with different aspects of life from education, health and other aspects detrimental to human progress, pointing out that vulnerable people are targeted to improve their living conditions.

Ibrahim added that the programs included cash transfers for education, especially for girls, enrollment of vulnerable people in the contributory health care scheme and other state social assistance initiatives.

Also speaking, the Program Policy Officer of the World Food Programme, Dr Akeem Olusola said the efforts served as a driving force in the standardization of national social protection policy in Nigeria as well as improving the compilation in the National Registry of Safety Nets.

Olusola dwelt on cash disbursement procedures, identification of beneficiaries and other implementation strategies which he says are standard best practices that ensure minimal hiccups.

He noted that the two-year program aimed to strengthen social protection in Nigeria with good implementations in Sokoto State in hopes of serving as a model for other states to generate impacts through a combination institutional approaches.

Earlier, the Acting Permanent Secretary of the Sokoto State Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, Alhaji Arzika Bodinga, hailed the success in the program, noting that it has expanded the state’s potentialities. to implement appropriate social protection activities.

Participants were drawn from the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs, the Ministry of Budget and Planning, the Ministry of Health and the Sokoto State Contributory Health Care Management Agency.

The others were the Sokoto State Primary Health Care Development Agency, the Zakkat and Sokoto State Endowment Commission, and the Sokoto State Emergency Management Agency.

It was anchored by the United Nations Children and Education Fund (UNICEF), the International Labor Organization (ILO), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the World Food Program (WFP ). Sokoto State gets a clear roadmap for successful social protection programs – UNICEF

Joel C. Hicks