THE Osun State government has signed an N825,285,597 million agreement with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) under a partnership programme implementation in the area of social amenities including the provision of water, health, basic education, sanitation and hygiene for the year 2011 to 2013.
In the agreement signed by Governor Rauf Aregbesola and the UNICEF Assistant Country Representative, Mrs. Sara Beysolow-Nyati, who doubles as the chief of Lagos Office, the partnership is expected to contribute to the realisation of the right of children to survival, development, protection and participation in the state.
Presenting the pact’s document to the governor, Beysolow-Nyati noted the success attained by the state’s school feeding programme, stressing that the programme had contributed to substantial increase in public school enrolment in the state from about 65 to 95 per cent.
According to her, the state government had also taken proactive strides towards the provision of potable water, sanitation, hygiene and the right of children.
The UNICEF official said the seriousness demonstrated by the administration had gone a long way in protecting the interest of the people of the state.
However, she expressed concern about alleged lackadaisical attitude of the Osun people towards HIV/AIDS despite the fact that they have the knowledge of the diseases, noting that HIV/AIDS prevalence was high in the state.
In the partnership, UNICEF will contribute technical supports, supplies and capacity building amounting to N669,640,597.80 while the state government would provide a counterpart balance of N155,645,000 to the programme.
Responding, Governor Aregbesola said his administration was determined to use the opportunity of the UNICEF-intervention programme effectively for the benefit of the people of the state.
He observed that UNICEF would contribute immensely to the realisation of his administration six-point action plan for the people and pave the way for the attainment of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
While urging people of the communities across the state to claim ownership of all the UNICEF-assisted water facilities, especially in their areas and ensure that those facilities are maintained to supply water regularly, Aregbesola noted that virtually all diseases, except malaria and HIV/AIDS, were water-borne.
He also directed that all landlords in the state provide toilet facility in their houses for the benefit of the occupants. Otherwise, the state would take proactive measures against them.
The governor specifically appealed to the UNICEF team to also take interest in the school-feeding programme of the administration, with a view to strengthening it and making it serve the objective of ensuring that the targeted children at their formative and critical age have nutritious meal.
The governor said the plan by his administration was to ensure 100 per cent enrolment for children of school age in public schools to relieve parents of the high fees being charged by the private sector.