Save the Children International (SCI), said on Thursday that it has introduced the Child Development Grant Programme to support nutrition activities in Kaduna and Kano states.
SCI Team Lead in Kaduna State, Mr Tanko Muhammed, made this known in Kaduna at the inception meeting with relevant stakeholders to launch phase II of the programme.
Muhammed explained that the programme aimed to reduce the high malnutrition indices in the country, particularly in northern Nigeria.
He said that the phase one of the projects was implemented by SCI and Action Against Hunger in Zamfara and Jigawa states between 2013 and 2019, with support from the British Department for International Development (DFID).
He added that the programme expended N11 billion on unconditional cash transfer to more than 93,000 pregnant women and women with children under two years in selected communities in Zamfara and Jigawa.
According to him, evidence has shown that nutrition-sensitive social protection programme have a significant impact on nutrition and poverty reduction.
“The programme recorded positive impacts on poverty and nutrition, including a reduction in stunting rates and improved dietary diversity for children under five years.
“There was equally better child health and improve households’ food security, asset ownership and economic activities that empower women to make relevant choices on child nutrition.
“These successes have demonstrated the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of implementing cash transfer programmes targeted at the first 1000 days of a child’s life.”
The team leader said that DFID had approved the extension of the CDGP for another two years to include Kaduna and Kano states, following the laudable results recorded in the first phase of the programme.
Mrs Saudatu Zahradeen, Advocacy and Communication Specialist Child Development Grant Programme, SCI, Abuja, however, said that the second phase of the programme would focus on supporting the states to institute child-sensitive policies and programmes.
“The focus is on system strengthening, evidence generation, advocacy and capacity building for the Federal Government and the benefiting states, with particular emphasis on child-nutrition sensitive social protection.
“We will continue to support the federal and states level institutions on systems strengthening and capacity development across the 36 states,” Mrs Zahradeen added.
She said that the objective of the meeting was to provide an overview of the programme, its structure, identify key stakeholders and agree on roles and responsibilities according to the programme’s work plan.
“This will ensure effective collaboration and coordination among government institutions, civil society organisation, including the media, with the main goal of improving the nutrition status of children,” she said.
She described child-centred social protection as public policies, programmes and systems that helped the poor and vulnerable individual and households to ensure the social status of human rights.
“It is also to improve their ability to cope with risks and shocks and reduce economic and social vulnerability,” she added.
Also, Mrs Sa’adatu Mohammed, Director, Gender Affairs, Kaduna State Ministry of Human Services and Social Development, thanked Save the Children for supporting the government in improving the nutritional status of children. (NAN)