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Working with traditional rulers to achieve results for children

Emir of Daur and Chief of UNICEF Kaduna Field Office
© UNICEF Nigeria/2008/Musa
UNICEF Chief of Kaduna Field Office, Mr Mugaju, with Emir of Daura

21 November 2008 - UNICEF Chief of Kaduna Field Office, Mr. James Mugaju, has paid a working visit to the two key emirs of Katsina and Daura to promote community dialogue for the realisation of children's rights.

During the visit which took place on 21 November 2008, the UNICEF Chief appealed to both Emirs to continue to engage parents and communities in dialogue to enrol children in school and ensure retention and completion of basic education; to ensure birth registration, full immunisation of children, and continue to advocate for children rights.

The Chief of Field of Office reiterated UNICEF’s commitment for enhanced collaboration with the Emirates through a result-oriented Plan of Action which could be jointly developed.

Both emirs agreed to have results-oriented plans articulated around community dialogue for social change in the areas of polio eradication, routine immunisation, girls’ education and birth registration.  They promised to tour all communities within their jurisdiction, relaying messages of social change on those specific priority issues.

In their separate responses, both emirs welcomed the idea for a closer partnership with UNICEF. “My door and those of my council members’ are open to UNICEF,” said the Emir of Katsina. The Emir stressed his familiarity with UNICEF during his tenure as past State chairperson for the Social Mobilisation Committee for polio eradication.

The Emir went on to explain that it is vital for any society to ensure the smooth growth and development of the younger generation and to prepare them to take over leadership along the process. He, therefore, sees it as absolutely relevant and appropriate to work with UNICEF, whose mandate is to improve the lives of children and women.

On his part, the Emir of Daura, Alhaji Umar Faruk Umar, said that as part of his responsibilities, he had passed on messages throughout his emirate about the importance of girl child education, polio eradication and routine immunisation. He further added that he had appointed a seasoned educationist known as ‘Sarkin Malamai’ (leader of education) as his chief adviser on education matters.
Both emirs committed to work together with UNICEF to achieve results in three particular areas: the polio eradication campaign, improved routine immunisation and girl’s education.

Katsina State Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, the coordinating ministry for the Federal Government and UNICEF’s programme of support, are set to coordinate meetings with the two emirate councils to develop a work plan for the next steps.

Traditional rulers in northern Nigeria are highly influential in bringing about change in social realities and perceptions of communities. They are custodians of culture and traditions; they represent the pillars of unity within their communities and their voices are well respected in the public domain.

For more information, contact:

Rabiu Musa, Communication Officer, UNICEF Kaduna Field Office. Email:  Phone: +234 (0) 803 659 1164
Paula Fedeski, COmmunication Chief, UNICEF Abuja Country Office. Email Phone: +234 (0) 803 402 0879



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