NGO Wants ECOWAS To Create Funding System For “Street Children”

The Young Ambassadors Against Drug Abuse Initiative (YAADAI), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), has urged ECOWAS member states to create funding system for “street children.”

The group made the call in a communiqué issued on Wednesday in Abuja, following a programme it organised tagged: “A Date with the Street Child.”

The programme was jointly organised by ECOWAS Children Parliament and the street children crew of Radio Nigeria, with the support of the African first ladies peace mission.

Others who supported the programme were Future Assured, Concerned Nigerians in Germany, the Lacasera company plc, Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Voice of Nigeria, the News Agency of Nigeria, Arise TV and TVC news respectively.

According to the participants, the funding that would be jointly contributed by government and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) would take care of the establishment of referral centres, foster homes and other viable platforms to accommodate street children.

They agreed that the move would help toward taking the children off the streets and make it easy for individuals and organisations to follow due process for adoption.

A funding system for “street children,” they said,

They also recommended that financial support be given to struggling families so that they could take care of their children and access birth control services and commodities.

The participants at the programme also recommended coordinated inclusion of “street children” as beneficiaries of social investment programme of the federal and state governments as the children belong to the group of most vulnerable Nigerians.

They called for training of teachers to recognise signs of abuse and neglect in children and to create a system that would support and provide mental healthcare and substance abuse treatment.

The participants also recommended tougher laws concerning child abandonment, child abuse to be implemented and that maximum sentence be enforced on rape, assault, crime for spouse, mental and physical abuse.

They called for the street children parliament inaugurated in Abuja to be replicated in all ECOWAS member countries and all states in the country, while  the street children parliament be part of ECOWAS Children Parliament meeting once in a while.

They recommended training of leadership and key officials of the street children parliament.

This, according to them, would go a long way to enhancing proficiency, competence and purposefulness in their duties and the need to have regular townhall meetings with stakeholders to champion children rights.

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