The Director of Gabinete T&E. Librada Ela Asumu, took part, from 22nd to 24th January, in the Summit on Social Protection held in the city of Abuja (Nigeria). The event was organised by the Ministry for Planning and Resources, under the auspices of the Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and with the assistance of the Economic Policy Research Institute (EPRI), with headquarters in South Africa.
Librada Ela was at the summit as a speaker after her proposal was selected, The Policies of Social protection and actions regarding vulnerable groups: children and particularly girls”, one of her areas of expertise. On a panel shared with two other matters of interest: “The relation between Social Protection and the economic cost of the Malaria pandemic”, by Dr. John E. Ochi, from the federal University of Gashua (Nigeria) and “Lessons from 10 years of conditioned transfer programmes”, by professor Olabanji Akinola, from the Centre for Social Protection and Policy Studies at the University of Lagos.
Below, we are including an extract from the work on social protection for vulnerable groups, in particular boys and girls:
“-Approximately half of the 14 million inhabitants in Nigeria are under 18, and it is estimated that 17.5 million of these children are vulnerable to adversity and run the risk of not meeting their full potential to live a safe productive life. Among these vulnerable children, 7.3 million are orphans, including 2.39 million orphaned children due to a death related to AIDS of one or both parents, in accordance with the Evaluation and analysis of the national situation regarding orphans and vulnerable children in Nigeria (NSAA) in 2008. Nigerian children face many other challenges, including poverty, damaging cultural practice, gender inequality, child labour, domestic and sexual violence, insufficient food, inadequate legal protection and a lack of access to social services, health and education”.
(Source: National standards to improve the quality of life of vulnerable children at the Federal Ministry for Women’s Issues and Social Development).
-Vulnerability includes conditions that increase the risk that a child becomes the victim of abuse, or sexual or physical exploitation. Vulnerability is always present where poverty is the norm. A UNICEF report in 2015 underlined that one in four girls and one in ten boys in Nigeria had suffered sexual violence before the age of 18. And, according to a survey carried out by Positive Action for Treatment Access, over 31.4 percent of girls said that their first sexual encounter was rape or some kind of forced sex”.
Why is Social Protection needed for boys, and in particular for girls?
-By promoting and establishing social protection systems, the vulnerabilities faced by boys and in particular girls can be reduced during the entire life cycle, as by granting subsidies to the transfer programmes, this has the aim of boosting families in communities, in order to promote a protective environment for children, and more adequate standards of living. It continues to be difficult to prevent child labour, sexual exploitation, domestic work, etc., due to the poverty of families in Nigeria. Within this framework, it may be utopian to pretend that the problems indicated could be 100% resolved while poverty remains present. Meanwhile, in order to help to reduce many of these vulnerabilities faced by children, support must be provided for the families, but also the children, in order to satisfy their own needs. It is not certain that by supporting families with economic aid, we can assume that the children will receive help and thus their lives will improve. In order to improve the living conditions of children, especially girls, this proposal is aimed at the parties involved: children (girls) and families. There are two specific proposals: (1) child labour with the aim of reducing exploitation, sexual abuse, long working hours and an improved environment of protection. The social protection initiative will promote grants for both children and families that meet all the requirements, and they must be monitored by a team under the leadership of the Government, and including United nations agencies and other international cooperation, local organisations, the private sector, the children and youths themselves, together with teachers (…)”.
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Source: Equatorial Guinea Press and Information Office