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Stakeholders seek pro-child Bauchi State development plan

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By Moses Mark

Stakeholders from Bauchi State have met to seek ways of integrating issues affecting the welfare of children into the State’s Medium Term Development Plan 2021 -2025.

The meeting held in Jos was organised by the state’s Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning and supported by UNICEF, with participants drawn from the state’s Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs).

Speaking at the meeting on Saturday, Permanent Secretary in the economic planning ministry, Alhaji Yahuza Haruna
said the event was meant to discuss and analyse the development plan and address any identified gaps.

He added that the meeting also aimed at integrating sensitive issues that affect children, with a view to ensuring their total inclusion.

“Basically we are here to discuss our medium term strategic plan which was developed for the state. This meeting is to analyse the plan and see whether we have been able to include and address the child vulnerability concept.

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“You see, when making a plan, there are many users of such plan and all of them will look at it to see if it has adequately addressed its areas of concern.

“As you know, UNICEF works for the welfare of children and that is why it sponsored this meeting to see if the plan has addressed the question of child vulnerability.

“So, our discussion here will focus on the need to ensure that this development plan captures children’s issues in terms of education, health, nutrition, communication, water, hygiene and sanitation, among others,” he said.

Dr Usman Bugaje of the Arewa Research and Development Project, the firm that developed the plan, described the meeting as timely, as it would ensure a holistic inclusion of issues that would lead to the growth and development of all sectors of the state.

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“This particular meeting which is supported by UNICEF is apt because it concerns the welfare of children; to know which aspects of the development plan speaks to the issues of children.

“It is a workshop that brings all critical stakeholders together; MDAs, development partners and the those of us in the private sector, to see how to include the issues that have to do with the welfare of children.

“It will also enable us come out with implementable strategies that will further better the lot of the children of Bauchi state,” he said.

Bugaje called on UNICEF and other agencies to ensure proper implementation of the plan for the good of the society On her part, Dr Esther Ahmed, the Director General, Bauchi Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) office, said the meeting aimed at ensuring no one was left behind in the implementation of the strategic plan.

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“We are here to ensure that no one is left behind in the implementation of the development plan. This plan has been designed, but we saw the need for the inclusion of issues that affects children.

“So, we are here to see that all the aspects that have to do with the welfare of children are included. Luckily, when you are talking of the child, you are also talking of the mother, so, by this inclusion, Bauchi women will also have a good life through the implementation of this plan,” she said

Earlier in a presentation, UNICEF Social Policy Specialist in the Bauchi Field office,Yusuf Auta, said that the inclusion of sensitive issues that concerns the welfare of children in the development plan would tackle some societal challenges and guarantee a better and safer future for every child.

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