Our commitment in Nigeria
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works with the Government and other partners to promote and protect the rights of Nigerian children and women in the areas of health and nutrition, basic education, water and sanitation, child protection and participation and planning and communication.
UNICEF has been present in Nigeria since 1953. UNICEF provides technical and financial support to the Government of Nigeria at its three levels of administration –Federal, State and Local Governments - on the development and provision of services for children and on adopting appropriate policy and legal measures to ensure the fulfilment of child rights.
UNICEF implements concrete interventions at the community level. Its programme of cooperation with the Federal Government of Nigeria is present in all 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory and is represented in at least three Local Government Areas in every State.
With over 250 staff, four field offices geographically located to cover the country, and several partners, UNICEF Nigeria is strategically set to identify and assist the most vulnerable in society, directly assisting over 220 communities throughout the country with an integrated approach based on the assessment of the local situation .
UNICEF’s survival and early childhood care programme aims to reduce mortality rates by addressing the survival rights of children from conception to five years of age. Major interventions include immunization against child preventable diseases, nutrition, malaria control, prevention of Mother-to-Child-Transmission of HIV and maternal health.
The Basic Education programme aims to contribute to improving net primary school enrolment, retention and attainment rates. The child-friendly schools component aims to improve the school environment as well as the style and quality of teaching in schools. Emphasis is also placed on increasing access and achievement for girls in school, especially in the north of Nigeria. This programme also supports the Integrated Early Childhood Care for children in pre-school age.
The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene programme combines the installation of new water points with the upgrading and renovation of existing facilities. UNICEF also promotes sanitation in households and in schools. Hygiene education in schools and in communities is an important component of the programme. Water and sanitation not only ensure optimal child health and survival but also boosts school attendance rates – especially for girls.
The child protection and participation programme assists the Government of Nigeria in meeting the obligations of the Convention on the Rights of the child. An important achievement was the adoption of the Child Rights Act in 2003 at the Federal level. UNICEF Nigeria encourages all States to pass this legislation in order to address the situation of early marriage, child labour, child trafficking, sexual exploitation, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and other forms of abuse. The programme provides assistance to orphans and vulnerable children and gives technical assistance to the Government for the development and implementation of a comprehensive plan for these vulnerable children. UNICEF also collaborates with the National Youth Service Corps, training young people as peer educators to inform and spread messages on HIV/AIDS prevention. To encourage participation of children, UNICEF supports the Children’s Parliament and broadcast programmes anchored by children.
Planning and evaluation is another component of UNICEF’s assistance that supports the different programme areas with surveys and evaluations to monitor basic indicators. UNICEF also advises the government on preparing and responding to potential emergencies.
All programme areas include community communication, education and social mobilization elements, including awareness raising campaigns. UNICEF also establishes partnerships with national electronic and print media to educate the public on children’s rights.