From James Ojo, Abuja
The Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Perry Claderwood said N23.9 billion ($80 million) has been invested to fight Child, Early and Forced Marriage (CEFM), in the past three years in Africa.
Speaking yesterday at the flag off of the African Child Campaign, the High Commissioner said the money was channeled through agencies targeted at girl child education and women rights advocacy.
Another $40 million, he stated, was earmarked to galvanise political support and resources to reduce the incident of CEFM through UNICEF and UNFPA between 2014 and 2017.
He added that his country was ready to support a holistic approach to the twin problems of education of the girl child and early marriage in high prevalence countries.
“Canada is taking a holistic approach to the issue of CEFM, addressing it from both a human rights and development perspective. Canada is supporting programmers at the national and grassroots levels to bring about a real change for girls and women.
“Canada is in fact helping to prevent child marriage and keep girls in schools through multiple and mutual reinforcing approaches. Canada has engaged diplomatically at the global, regional and country levels to raise awareness and generate dialogue on CEFM more broadly,” he said.
The envoy assured the support of his home government to the work of the African Union (AU) Commission at helping to advance the campaign to end child marriage, adding that Canada would join Zambia in the sponsorship of a resolution on CEFM at the next UN General Assembly in September.
In developing countries alone, he revealed that Canada provided more than $280 million in 2014 to help in improving skill training, especially, for girls, while in Nigeria, the sum of $6.5 million had been expended in keeping girls at school.
Claderwood said Canada also helped Nigeria to attain a major milestone in the eradication of Polio, which he said would continue with the provision of CAD $28 million for this year.
About 4.2 million Nigerian children, he noted, would have access to the treatment of diarrhea with oral rehydration salts and zinc.
The flag off was graced by award winning Nollywood actress, Stephaine Okereke-Linus whose latest film titled DRY was aired as part of the events.