INTRODUCING THE BAUCHI STATE
ORPHANS AND VULNERABLE CHILDREN AGENCY,
AND REQUESTS FOR PERTNERSHIP AND COLLABORATION;
BAUCHI STATE AT A GLANCE
Area 49,119 km2
Predominant languages Hausa/Fulani,Jarawa,Sayawa,
Kare- Kare, Apawa & Kanuri
Population (2006 census) 4,653,066
No, of IDPs (as of Dec. 2015) 75,000
Main source(s) of income Agriculture (90% of population)
Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar
Governance 20 LGAs
Internally Generated Revenue, (2015) 4.53 billion Naira
BASOVCA AT A GLANCE
Considering the critical nature of this onerous responsibility and the rapid increase in the number of Orphans and Vulnerable Children and their Care givers occasioned by the unfortunate insurgency, Religious and ethnic crises in neighboring states of Gombe, Yobe, Borno, Adamawa, Taraba, Plateau, Benue, Kaduna and a host of other volatile states, the OVC unit was strategically upgraded to an Agency by the former Administration in the year 2012 through the Bauchi State House of Assembly Bill of 22nd day of October, 2012. The Agency is directly under the supervision of the state Executive Governor, His Excellency, M.A. Abubakar Esq. This absolutely demonstrates Government’s commitment for ownership and leadership in OVC interventions in Bauchi state.
KEY ROLES / FUNCTIONS OF THE OVC AGENCY
To review existing Policy frameworks especially with regards to their relevance in executing the functions of the OVC Agency
To develop and execute programs and activities meant to assist OVC, Adolescent, and Care givers to become self reliant
To initiate and execute Policies especially those targeted at resolving Child abandonment and neglect in all ramifications including Legal actions.
To collate, organize, analyze, interpret and make statistical inference on all issues affecting Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Bauchi state
To provide policy direction on all intervention programs targeting the OVC in the state
To coordinate orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) plans at various levels to meet the national and international standard.
To coordinate orphans and vulnerable children (OVC)programs in all the 20 LGAs of the state.
To ensure equitable access to OVC essential services through provision of shelter, education, nutrition, legal protection, psychosocial and Household Economic Empowerment support
To monitor, evaluate and promote implementation of OVC plans at various levels in the state.
To provide information on all mitigation strategies to be developed in the state
To strengthen integration / collaborations among stakeholders in order to foster a coordinated program implementation in the state, among others things.
OBJECTIVES OF THE AGENCY
To ensure the protection and promotion of OVC through improved Policy and legislation, by channeling resource to communities, particularly those with disproportionate number of OVC with unmet service needs and requirements.
To strengthen the capacity of families to protect and care for the OVC by prolonging the lives of Parents and Caregivers and by providing socio-economic, psychosocial and other risk reduction support to OVC and their respective Caregivers.
To establish every workable mechanism that will facilitate access to essential services including Education, Vocational training, Health and Legal services and other resource capacities and skills to engage in Health promotion activities to reduce inequalities.
To ensure compliance with all National, Regional and state level laws and regulations that protects and promotes health and other related issues affecting the OVC in the State
POWERS OF THE AGENCY
The Agency has the following powers as encapsulated in the law that established it, thus ;-
1. Demand and obtain all relevant Information, Data and Reports on matters relating to OVC from all Stakeholders
2. Liaise with relevant establishments within and outside Nigeria in pursuance of the functions of the Agency
3. Carryout resource mobilizations and other related activities as are necessary or expedient for the performance of the functions of the Agency
ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE OF THE AGENCY
The Agency is headed by an Executive Chairman and has the following departments to support the successful execution of the mandate entrusted him.
1. Admin. and Finance
2. Community Mobilizations and Programs
3. Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and statistics
4. Child Protection & Rehabilitation
5. Information Technology and
6. Legal services
WORKING FACILITIES / INSTITUTIONS / ASSETS
Bauchi State Orphans and Vulnerable Children Agency (BASOVCA) is located behind LGA Audit Headquarters, Opposite State Treasury Division, Ahmadu Bello Way Bauchi.
State Orphanage home located at State Low-Cost Bauchi
OVC Memorial School at State Orphanage Home, State Low-cost, Bauchi.
OVC Skills Acquisition Centre, Ningi/Kano Road Polo ground Bauchi.
Misau OVC Skill Acquisition Centre opposite V.I.O office Misau LGA.
Zaki OVC Skill Acquisition Centre near Royal group, Zaki LGA.
Despite the Gap identified in the OVC Intervention Program that placed Bauchi State OVC Response un-coordinated and personalized, the giant stride taken by His Excellency the Executive of Governor of Bauchi State, M.A. Abubakar,Esq. for appointing an indefatigable, honest and workaholic Executive Chairman Ibrahim Hali Abdullahi to head the Board of the Agency is a demonstration of commitment, selflessness and sincerity of purpose. There is no doubt this effort will go a long way in changing the situation towards providing quality care and services to OVCs and their Caregivers in the State.
There is preponderance of literature on the achievement of OVC unit from Sept. 2007, to early 2015 as an Agency, saturated by claims of successes, however the key questions to ask are;- who and who constitute the OVC Agency in the state? How much analytical Research work has been conducted on the Agency? Are the policies and programs implemented desirable and evidence based? Have the impact of these policies been assessed through systematic research? What operational plans were in place guiding the Agency? What factors hinders the full implementation of the entire OVC policies and finally did the policies address the gabs that were inherence in the system.
These and many other questions necessitated the Board and officers responsible for the day today running of the OVC Agency to make a paradigm shift based on reality and available statistics of the situation of OVC in the state. The shift indicates change of approach to discharging social services to the OVC in the state, some of the changes are ;-
- Change from Community Action Groups (CAG), to a more democratically and results oriented “ OVC League” at the Village/ward level
- Transformation of the 3 skills acquisition centers to a more realistically results oriented and sustainable Education program, Converting them to “ OVC Ultra-model Vocational Colleges”, one in each of the senatorial Districts. Works has already started and nearing completion for that of Bauchi zone
- Adopting participatory approach to OVC development in Bauchi state
- Introduction of strategic planning and application of result based Monitoring and Evaluation Framework in the sector
- Intensification of collaboration and partnership to enhance funding of OVC service provision.
The Agency developed an innovative program aimed at providing holistic intervention to the Orphans and Vulnerable Children, referred to as the family development and empowerment program (FADEP). The program is implemented through a cluster system, which is aimed at reaching every household in every community of all the 323 political wards of Bauchi state. This is to ensure that no vulnerable child is left behind. The cluster model is operated at four levels.
At the state level- The program is coordinated at the state office by a trained and motivated program team. They provide capacity building, supervisory, mentoring and coaching as well as facilitating the provision of OVCs services to the LGA, District and Ward level structures. The program team is led by the Executive Chairperson as provided for in the bill establishing the agency. (The Agency Organogram and cluster Model is herewith attached).
At the LGA level—The Focal person coordinated OVC activities in that particular LGA, he oversees the OVC Leagues and provides regular supervision to the OVC Leagues operations.
The OVC League is operated at the ward level and is a collection of carefully selected community members from all walks of life including traditional, religious and other relevant community leaders strata that are saddled with the responsibilities of providing an appropriate safety nets that will ensure the provision of quality care, support and services to orphans and vulnerable children in their respective communities
BASOVCA THEMATIC AREAS
In order to enable these indigent Children achieve their full potential for meaningful growth and development, the following strategies were carefully articulated and adopted for implementation in line with the National OVC guidelines and strategic plan of action:
Education intervention through a school enrolment, retention and completion, provision of scholastic materials and training of adolescent OVCs/caregivers in different skills etc.
Protection and Legal support; protect and take care of the abandoned and neglected child and provision of legal support and backing to OVCs whose rights were denied.
Psycho-social support through guidance and counseling, nursing of 0-5 years OVCs, provision of recreational materials/support kits, formation for football/taekwondo Academy to participate in the state and National competitions etc.
Health intervention through provision of free health ticket services to state teaming OVCs and their caregivers, settlement of bills for tests and surgery etc.
Household economic strengthening through training of OVCs/caregivers in different skills, provision of starter packs and grant for petty trading etc.
Food and nutrition: provision of nutrition supplement to 0-5 year OVCs, provision of foods to OVCs 6-10 and 11-17 years including rapid responses to caregivers etc
Shelter intervention: payment of rent, renovation of dilapidated buildings, provision of clothing materials, beddings, baby Kits & toys and shoes etc.
These interventions are considered critical to child survival and development and are provided in the most scientific, innovative and cost effective way possible.
INTERNAL COLLABORATION WITH MDAs
Ministry of Health ;Develop policy that provides for easy and affordable Health care to the VC in collaboration with the Agency.
State Health Management Board; Ensure the effective implementation of the VC Health subsidy as indicated in the N2000 dominated Health tickets Hospitals in the state and Agency in the execution of OVC Health intervention activities.
Ministry of Education; Develop Policy/program to protect and care for OVC rights to free education
Ministry of Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation; To support the Agency towards Household economic strengthening of OVCs and provision of starter packs on different skills and grants
Ministry for Social Development ; To support the Agency in protecting life of the infant child
Ministry for Justice ; Facilitates the provision of Legal support to OVCs whose rights were violated
Ministry for Agriculture ; Provides technical Support to the Agency on Food security and Livestocks
Ministry of Youth and Support; Provides technical support to the Agency towards improving the physical and mental Health conditions of our teaming OVCs in Bauchi State.
Ministry of Budget and Planning; To ensure the inclusion of annual and supplementary Budget of the Agency into harmonized State Budget. Preparation of strategic OVC development and annual action plans and Monitoring and Evaluation skills
Ministry of Local Government Affairs; Ensure statutory Monthly LGAs deductions are made and remitted to the OVC Trust Fund, Ensure effective and timely mobilization of LGA officials when required in the execution of OVC activities
- Review of OVC Registration (OVC MAPPING): The Agency intends to establish a base line data (Data bank) for generating information that could be use for Planning, Accountability and Reference which is about to kick start. In addition every day, Children are becoming orphans as a result of their parent’s death due to illness, crisis and accidents while others are becoming vulnerable due to neglect and abandonment. This had rapidly increases the number of OVC in the State. Hence, the need to review the registration of OVCs in the State.
- Strategic Planning tools: These are long term plans that would accommodate five to seven year activities of the Organization aimed at achieving the Vision, Mission and the Goals of the Organization. It also serves as a road map and measurability frame work that produces input, outcome, output and results.
- Partnership and Cooperation
BASOVCA program is developing strategic partnership and linkages with stakeholders and actors, like CSOs, Organized Private Sectors and other Community responses, to ensure that children receive the continuum of care and support necessary for optimal development and attainment of their full potentials. This will in turn enhance synergy, enlarge each partner’s key competencies and increases the number of children and household reached, as well as scale up of interventions. Also the introduction / Creating Village level OVC League demonstrates the true focus for stakeholder involvement in the sector affairs in Bauchi state. Involvement and Participation of stakeholders in OVC Response would tremendously scale up interventions through or by way of involving every stakeholder from within and outside the state to ensure sustainable implementation of the five year strategic plan (2017 to 2021) in place.
CONCLUSION / PRAYERS
As just been revived, the brand newly ambitious Agency (BASOVCA), first of its kind in the Nigerian Nation, requires the attention and support of all but interested International and Local development Partners, Civil Society Organizations and Organized Private Sectors round the globe, to rally round and join hands in lifting up the collective efforts of the Bauchi state Government for the world to see and recognize. This will promote, develop and sustain the good initiatives in favor of the voiceless in the society. However, OVC Situational Analysis of the entire Bauchi state needs to be conducted so as to reveal to the Agency all areas that needs more attention and to further give direction for strategic interventions.
Establishment of data based will kick start the proactive moves within the period in question (2017- 2021). The focus of the Agency would be more on Household empowerment and sustainable education program for the OVCs. Critical services such as care and support as well as legal and child protection services which were largely ignored, will now be attended to. Moreover, meaningful integration of psychosocial support services as provided by the OVC policy eluded most interventions. Recent OVC status reports noted that although strengthening institutional capacity utilizes large amounts of resources over the last 5 years. Service oriented Agency is now in need of supports of any kind to help deliver the expected for evidence based results to the sector in Bauchi state.
With the new transparent Board in action now, it is rest assured that the impact of subsequent interventions would definitely be felt in the entire state most especially with technical and financial supports expected from all hands. This therefore, calls and solicits for all and every category of partners to rally round the new innovation and give support in their special way of doing things right to deliver.
BAUCHI STATE ASPIRES TO BE A ROLE MODEL TO OTHERS, IN THIS SECTOR INTERVENTION, AMEN !!!