Amby Uneze in Owerri
The Federal Government of Nigeria and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have urged state governments to partner for the implementation of the growth and good health of the children.
FGN/UNICEF Programme of Cooperation document for 2018 – 2022 are geared towards the well-being and growth of children, even as the Imo State Government and UNICEF Enugu Field Office have agreed to work together to achieve these set objectives. Disclosing the intention of government in the Mid-term Review Meeting held in Owerri, the Imo State capital, the Governor of the state, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, expressed happiness over the various intervention programmes jointly executed by UNICEF and the Government over the past years and promised to gear up the effort of government in ensuring that those progrmmes which are targeted for the well-being of children are effectively and efficiently tackled.
Ihedioha, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, State Ministry of Planning, Budget and Statistics, Mr. Reginald Ude, said that the new leadership of state was committed to partnering with UNICEF to implement and achieve the results set out in the Country Programme document (2018 – 2022), adding that the State Government therefore expect a robust relationship with UNICEF and other Donor Agencies.
The two-day 2019 Mid-year review meeting was organised by the UNICEF Enugu Field Office in collaboration with National Orientation Agency (NOA), Imo State for partners such as Ministries, departments and parastatals/Agencies, local government councils as well as civil society organisations implementing UNICEF supported activities.
In his remarks, the Chief of Field Office Enugu, Mr. Ibrahim Conteh noted that the narrative for reviews was changing as the new focus was on results, recalling that earlier this year there was a training on Result Based Management and its applicability in this regard which emphasised that results would be possible where there has been efficient and effective programming.
Conteh said, “The media review is an intention to bring the partners together to review what we have achieved over the last six months, the challenges, its roots causes, how we can prevent those challenges and what would be the way forward to enable us become more effective and efficient in our programmes. We started the process in November/December last year. We have only gone six months.
“At the end of the day the partners would be able to tell us what they have achieved, for example, in child protection, the partners would tell us how many communities that have been abandoned in Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), in education, we have seen the result of education outpost being much improved, in health more children are being immunised; these are interesting results we are hearing,” he noted.
The Chief of Field Office Enugu, however, observed that one of the major challenges that hinder the achievement of the set results was delay in releasing funds for the implementation of the programmes, adding “because this year, governments have not been forthcoming with funding which delay the implementation of some of these programmes.” He appealed to implementing partners, especially state governments to put more efforts towards the realisation of the target goals.
Speaking also the Executive Secretary, Enugu State Planning Commission, Mr. Dan Onyishi asked participants to focus on ways to improve their programming and impact the lives of children and women.
The UNICEF Specialist on Monitoring and Evaluation, Mrs. Maureen Zubie -Okolo presented the objectives of the meeting which include the review of progress towards the achievement of Mid -Year Milestones, identifying the key challenges as well as x-raying the way forward. While noting that reporting period for the review was six months (January to June 2019), she also presented a Dash board of the reporting format.
According to her, the report was based on three parameters; exceeding target (Dark Green), on-track (light green) and off-track/constrained (red). She explained that the parameters helps to track performance, expose challenges for corrective purposes.
She stressed the need to identify key challenges which could be internal, external, supplies or operations related, Sectoral or geographical as well as proposed the immediate remote causes. She however expatiated that each corrective or preventive action should have a time frame as well as a responsible person.
Again she said that in x-raying the lessons learnt, care should be taken to excavate the factors that contributed to the success especially where the targets were exceeded.