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UNICEF Bauchi Field Office, journalists partner to get ride of child poverty

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By Abbas Shehu, Gombe

 In it efforts to create awareness that would assist in reducing child poverty in Nigeria, UNICEF Bauchi Field Office has organized a two-day media dialogue for media representatives from Adamawa, Bauchi, and Gombe states, where journalists were urged to play pivotal roles in raising awareness about child poverty in the three states of the North East.

The two day dialogue was held  at Gombe, Gombe State with the need for journalists participating in the program to use their platforms of communication to continue advocating for child-friendly policies toward addressing child poverty in the three states of Adamawa, Bauchi, and Gombe and the country at large.    
During the technical session of the meeting, Dr Yusuf Auta, UNICEF Social Policy Specialist, Bauchi Field Office, lectured journalists on what child poverty is and its drivers as well as the multidimensional child poverty in Adamawa, Bauchi and Gombe States using recent poverty statistics as it affects children.

According to him, 2021 data from the National Bureau of Statistics revealed that 68.8 per cent of children in Adamawa state, 86.1 per cent in Bauchi state, and 82 percent in Gombe state are multidimensionally poor.

While expressing concern over the high level of Child Poverty in the country, Dr Yusuf  called for children sensitive budgets and timely releases as well as doing away with socio-cultural impediments that stands as barrier against adequate welfare for all children.

He also spoke on the interplay of multidimensional poverty with children’s rights to education, health, protection among many others and concluded that the task of addressing child poverty is for all members of the community through entrenching policies and programmes that carries children along.

Dr. Auta has using the Situation Analysis of Children 2021, to identify Corruption, unemployment, Voilence, Inadequate investment in Social Sector and insufficient income from Social security and benefits to be responsible for child poverty in Nigeria.

Also in his paper presentation at the Media dialogue, Dr. Ali Madina Dankumo of the Department of Economics and Development Studies, Federal University of Kashere, Gombe State, informed that a 2023 World Bank survey indicates that 40 million Nigerian children live in poverty. 

 Dr. Dankumo identified climate-related disasters, insufficient access to education and healthcare, family size and structure, low wages, and rapid population growth as causes of child poverty.

He further attributed child poverty to inadequate social safety nets, government policies such as removal of subsidies on essential commodities, and bad governance which affect heads of households and by extension their children.

The Economist advised the media to create awareness on the causes, consequences, and prevalence of child poverty, and to facilitate public dialogue and debate about child poverty, by bringing together government, civil society organizations, academia, and the private sector to exchange ideas, share best practices and develop innovative solutions to the complex problem of poverty.

Dr. Dankumo urged the government at all levels to come up with innovative policies that will help better the lives of children in the country. 

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