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Stakeholders Move To Tackle Challenges Of Child Marriage, Teenage Pregnancy, Others

Stakeholders at the re ently concluded Capacity Building Workshop in Adamawa state, North East Nigeria have resolved to address the challenges of child and early marriage, teenage pregnancy as well as Vesicovaginal fistula (VVF) through the enforcement of the universal basic education requirement for all girls to be in school until age 18 in the state.

They also resolved to be fully involved in the sensitisation and engagement of religious leaders and traditional rulers on the provisions of the Penal Code of Adamawa State on the age of marriage and consent to marriage as anyone below the age of 18 is deemed to be a child by law.

These formed part of the resolutions reached at the end of the workshop on Strategic Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of Adamawa State Government on formulation of Action Plans and Policies and implementation of National and International Standards on sexual and gender based violence (SGBV), violence against women and girls (VAWG), harmful practices (HP) as well as sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).

The resolutions contained in a communique jointly signed by Mrs Tulhungu Uziel, Mrs Heidi E. Sunday of Adamawa State ministry of health, education and human capital development as well as Regina Vincent Yahaya Mohammed Daji of miinistry of women affairs and social development State House of Assembly. Others include: Mrs Celestina B.Yume Zakaria Z. Yuri of the state ministry of information and strategy ministry of agriculture, Mrs Ruth Huram Kowoabo Takoni, Ministry of Finance and Budget Ministry of Justice, Michael Ngwula Sunday Andrew of the ministry of youths and sports state planning commission as well as Eze Onyekpere, lead director, Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), a nongovernmental organizations and made available to Weekend Pioneer.

The communique noted that participants which included stakeholders in the health and other related sectors of the economy as well as Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) committed to work for the drafting, adoption and implementation of State Gender Policy. It noted, "Participants commit to raise awareness and disseminate information on national and international standards as well as strengthen relationships, cooperation and collaboration among Adamawa MDAs. Participants also commit to bridge the gap between laws and policies and their implementation and to use empirical evidence for policy and plan implementation.

According to the communique, participants committed to work through their MDAs for adoption of the Child Rights Act, establishment by law of the Sexual and Gender Based Violence Response Team and enact specific laws prohibiting domestic violence. They also resolved to take up the promise of the Body of Attorney Generals of the 19 Northern states to adopt Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act across all the states in the region through the engagement of the executive and legislature in Adamawa State.

The workshop which was convened by Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) in collaboration with the European Union-United Nations Spotlight Initiative was held in Yola, the Adamawa State capital with participants drawn from MDAs of Adamawa State notably, the ministries of women affairs, agriculture, education and human capital development. Others include: finance and budgeting, information and strategy, health, justice, youth and sports development, state planning commission as well as the State House of Assembly.

Weekend Pioneer reports that the workshop is part of a series of activities under the Spotlight Initiative which seeks to eliminate violence against women and girls with the overall vision of a Nigeria where women and girls, particularly the most vulnerable, live a life free from violence and harmful practices. It is expected that capacities of government officials will be strengthened to advocate for, and participate in the domestication, review, the development and implementation of laws and policies on ending VAWG, including SGBV/HP and promotion of SRHR.

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