By Becky John
The United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) said on Monday it remained committed to the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Nigeria beyond 2015. The Country Representative of the fund, Mrs Ratidza Ndhlovu, expressed the commitment at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja.
“These are man-made documents, which they put together because they know the challenges that are in the country; but that does not mean to say come end of 2015, Nigeria will change.
“The challenges will remain and there is nothing that will stop UNFPA to continue to fight for the issues; we should not take the MDGs as the end of the world.
“So, it will not stop programmes because the issues remain the same.
“They can give it a different name, but the issues will remain the same; so we are going to continue to support the same issues that we have been supporting.“
Ndhlovu said that the fund had initiated a pilot programme in Kaduna State as part of efforts to educate the girl-child. According to her, the programme will carry on beyond 2015 and will be extended to other states of the federation. She said the pilot programme in Kaduna would see 200 girls enroll in schools across the state. She said the fund would be responsible for paying their school fees, providing their school books and other needs until they graduated.
The country representative said the fund was interested in seeing the difference the programme would make in the lives of the girls in a few years. She called for a closer working relationship between the media and the fund.
“The media is the most powerful tool that can help us to educate the public about family planning, about institutional delivery, about fistula.
“All these things the media can do more than anybody else.
“So, if we work with the media and they understand the issues and they take it out there, we are sure that UNFPA will achieve its mandate.
“Alone we will not be able to do it. “