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UNICEF unveils handbooks on children’s rights, others

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The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) has launched handbooks titled: Faith For Life for Christians and Muslims on children’s rights and wellbeing for Nigerian families and communities.

A statement issued by Communication Specialist for UNICEF Nigeria, Geoffrey Njoku in Calabar, Cross River State, yesterday, said the handbooks would leverage on the influence of Christianity and Islam and provide recommendations on how parents and caregivers could promote child survival and development through their behaviour.

“The handbooks, which have been endorsed by national religious leaders, contain carefully selected verses from the Holy Bible and Qur’an relating to infant and child feeding, protection, nutrition, education, disease prevention, hygiene and sanitation, all of which provide a spiritual basis for the promotion of key childhood development issues and challenges in Nigeria,” the statement reads.

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UNICEF Nigeria Representative, Peter Hawkins, said: “We recognise the important role religion plays in the lives of Nigerians and the important influence religious leaders have in their communities. The concept of the Faith For Life handbooks is to showcase those important roles and how religious precepts can positively impact on children’s lives.

“With their large platforms, faith leaders in Nigeria are often well-placed to encourage positive behavioral and attitudinal change in their communities, with significant potential for activating and supporting improvements in child well-being. The handbook provides religious and traditional leaders with accurate and positive messaging on key developmental issues that they can disseminate to their communities through dialogues.

UNICEF stated that the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammed Sa’ad Abubakar and President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Reverend Samson Ayokunle have endorsed the handbooks.

It added that a technical working group had already been set up to identify modalities for disseminating the learning from the handbooks in the various zones, with a team comprising representatives of both religions from the six geopolitical zones and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

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