UNICEF wants corporate partnerships to support vulnerable young people

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund said more public-private partnerships should be forged in Nigeria to bridge the gap for children in underserved communities.

The Fund also lamented the Nigerian government’s apathy to provide basic support to millions of vulnerable children in the country.

Céline Lafoucrière, Field Manager, UNICEF Nigeria, said so on Thursday at the inaugural meeting of the International Business Group in Lagos.

According to her, a key part of the UNICEF project in Nigeria was aimed at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by providing better opportunities for vulnerable children from disadvantaged and impoverished communities.

To achieve this, Lafoucrière said UNICEF has already partnered with some business organizations to provide critical interventions in the areas of mobile data access, work readiness skills and livelihood opportunities for young Nigerians, as well as support for young Nigerians to voice their opinions and needs.

“The overall goal was that we will help increase access to data in underserved areas for young Nigerians. We aim to expand data coverage to 250 underserved communities. Today we are at 400,” she said.

On supporting access, provision of work readiness skills and livelihood opportunities to young Nigerians, she said progress on these fronts has been stalled due to some technicalities involving her partnership. with YOMA, an initiative developed by young Africans as a holistic approach to addressing skills development and employment challenges, as well as increasing youth agency across the globe.

Speaking about how the projects were funded, she said: “UNICEF didn’t budget for this, but we drove as fast as we could. There is also no given budget as it must come from the partners. The budget is not a problem in itself, because it is a public-private partnership platform. It’s about coordinating funds and aligning with the government on where it wants things to happen.

Asked what UNICEF plans to do to care for more than 20 million out-of-school children in Nigeria, Lafoucrière said the organization’s operational mandate does not include caring for the plight of children. who were not schooled. However, UNICEF is providing its YOMA (Foundation) to help out-of-school children in these communities, she added.