Background of Need for this Program: The Situation of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) in Nigeria
The United Nations Convention on the rights of the child (1990) articulates various inherent human rights that should be afforded to children. Thus, Policies and practices designed to support and provide general and specific services to children and their families are to reflect these rights in order that all children may reach their full potentials in the society.
However, Nigeria is said to have one of the largest burdens of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) in the world. The 2008 Situation Assessment and Analysis (SAA) on OVC (FMWASD 2008) revealed that 17.5 million (24.5%) of Nigerian children are OVC. The survey further showed that 7.3 million were orphaned from various causes. Major causes of orphaning in Nigeria have been identified to include AIDS, road accidents, high rate of maternal mortality and ethno-religious conflicts while large numbers of children are made vulnerable due to poverty, conflict, negative cultural practices and gender inequality. It is estimated that one million children under five years of age die every year in Nigeria, six million are malnourished, 3.2 million are out of school and Nigeria loses between 52,900 and 59,000 children to pregnancy and child birth related complications annually. children in most communities are in deplorable conditions exposed to neglect, exploitation, abuse and deprived of basic human rights and needs, children aged between 6 – 17 years engaged in child labour, majority are not regular in school, while the others lack access to health facility, more than 20% are without birth certificates and 17.8% are victims of sexual abuse. Large proportions are street children in Nigeria trafficked on a regular basis. The deplorable situation of OVC in Nigeria is further compounded by HIV and AIDS epidemic.
This is the graphic story of the challenge we face.
To this end, CELD organized a National Conference on the Convention on the Rights of the Child on August 31st, 2010 at the Protea Hotels, Asokoro, to assess the progress of Nigeria’s implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; bring to the fore, issues affecting the well-being of the Nigerian child; accelerate progress towards the implementation of the provisions of the child rights act and develop concrete strategies for action.
Selected Success Story from the Conference
The conference, with the theme: Preserving the future of the Nigerian Child, brought together stakeholders in the OVC sector of Nigeria, cutting across First Ladies, International Development Agencies, Government Ministries and Departments, the organized Private Sector and the Civil Societies . It also afforded participants and stakeholders, the opportunity to have a comprehensive review of successes, best practices, lessons learned, obstacles and gaps, challenges and opportunities of various child rights projects in order to further the quality of their work of protecting the rights of the child. At the end of the conference, a communiqué stating concrete strategies for action in the implementation of the provisions of the child rights act, was published and sent to stakeholders in the 36 states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.