By Lawrence Audu, Abuja.
A 2 day Stakeholders’ Engagement on Alternative Care for children who have lost, or are at the risk of losing, parental care came to a close in Gwagwalada council of the FCT on Thursday.
The event, which was organized by the SOS Children’s Villages Gwagwalada in conjunction with the Gwagwalada Area Council and the Child Protection Network Gwagwalada, presented a platform for experts from various fields including civil society, government agencies, security agencies and the media to share common views and ideas on how to improve the welfare of vulnerable children.
In his remarks, Executive Chairman of Gwagwalada Area Council, Adamu Mustapha Danze, represented by the HOD, Education and Social Welfare, Numan Sheshi, stressed the need to come in a collaborative manner to implement policies and programmes which will enable the vulnerable and disadvantaged children to have a future.
He pledged the support of the Area Council in working with SOS Children’s Villages and similar organizations working in the interest of vulnerable children in the society.
In his presentation, SOS Programme Development and Strategy Advisor, Mark Nwakaudu said the organization is working within the UN Convention on the rights of the child, which has been domesticated in Nigeria as the Childs Right Act.
According to Mark “One thing that is standard practice world over now, is the focus on alternative care and not institutional care. A lot of the care for children outside of the family is in institutions and orphanages. We need to de-emphasize institutions and start working towards the various options of care that is available for children who have lost parental care”.
For over forty years, SOS Children’s Villages Nigeria has been working for children in Nigeria, especially the vulnerable ones who have lost parental care or are at the verge of losing parental care, to continue to have an environment where their developmental needs are met, so that they can grow up to become self-supporting members of the society.
The symposium, which featured several insightful presentations, climaxed with a Road Show within the Gwagwalada metropolis.