A month-long child protection response service delivery exercise for the 2022 flood-ravaged seven local government areas of Anambra State has begun, with the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, which is sponsoring the programme, listing priority areas for the service providers.
Anambra State Ministry of Women Affairs is implementing the programme with support from UNICEF.
Those targeted for the programme are children below the age of 18 in four communities in each of the affected seven local government areas, namely, Anambra East, Anambra West, Awka North, Ayamelum, Ihiala, Ekwusigo, and Ogbaru.
The service providers for the programme were drawn from the state and local government social workers, community and church leaders, as well as vigilante operatives who would be making weekly returns to the state Ministry of Women Affairs.
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Supervisors for the fieldwork were also drawn from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, while representatives of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) would serve as secretaries.
The UNICEF child protection specialist in the Enugu Field Office, Mr. Victor Atuchukwu, while addressing the service providers in Awka, asked them to take the assignment seriously and avoid pitfalls that might hinder the objectives of the programme.
He said they should particularly look out for vulnerable children, especially those abused sexually as a result of the unfortunate situation provided by the flood menace.
He said: “As providers, you must report to the Ministry, preferably anonymously, to ensure the safety of the whistleblower.”
“You must also understand processes in case management while rendering services to the flood victims, as proper management helps the victims return to normal life quickly.”
He advised them to set up structures consisting of traditional rulers, presidents’ generals, church leaders, youth organizations, and vigilante outfits, who, he added, have roles to play in protecting children in their communities.