By Philip Yatai
A Non-Governmental Organisation, Connected Development (CODE) on Friday, commended the Kaduna State Government for developing a Social Protection Policy that responded to the plight of women and vulnerable households in the state.
CODE’s Senior Programme Manager, Mrs Lucy Abagi gave the commendation in Kaduna, when she led some officials of the organisation on a courtesy call on the state’s Commissioner for Housing and Urban Development, Fausat Ibikunle.
Abagi described the policy as a “strategic response” to economic shocks caused by poverty and vulnerability which was worsened by the outbreak of COVID-19 and the lockdown imposed to contain its spread.
She also commended Gov. Nasir El-Rufai, for appointing a woman, his Deputy Chief of Staff, Mrs Saude Atoyebi to coordinate the implementation of social protection programmes in the state.
She also commended El-Rufai for providing platforms for women to participate and lead some decision-making processes, describing as “second to none” in the country.
“For example, the Deputy Governor, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, along with the six female commissioners and other women heading key parastatals are part of the taskforce that are still responding to COVID-19 issues in the state.
“This is commendable, considering the high number of women involved in the decision-making process in the state, including decisions on COVID-19 response.”
She said that CODE had secured support from the UN Women under its Strengthening State Capacities and Women’s Participation in COVID-19 Response project.
She said that the project would analyse the plans, policies and actions taken by the Kaduna state government in responding to COVID-19 pandemic.
According to her, the goal is to document key roles played by women in the response and amplify them for other states to emulate and provide platforms for women to participate in decision making.
“We are in your office, therefore, to document your experience, actions, challenges and lessons learnt, being one of the women in the frontline of COVID-19 response in the state.
“We also want to know how some of the actions taken by you and other women in the response team impacted on women in communities.”
Responding, Ibikunle thanked CODE for the visit and for recognising the leadership roles being played by women in Kaduna state.
She said that some of the key roles being played by the ministry under her stewardship were around improving infrastructures in hospitals, isolations centres to contend the diseases.
“The ministry also facilitated the construction of an Infectious Disease Control Centre, as a permanent isolation centre and put all temporary isolation centres in good shape for usage.
“It was really a trying period for all of us.
“It was not easy, but we are doing the best we can to deliver quality services to the people of the state, particularly our women and children living in rural communities,” the commissioner said.