UNICEF Nigeria Installs WAJE, Kate Henshaw, 2 Others As Child Rights Champions
- To Advocate Critical Issues Affecting Children In Health, Education, Nutrition, Child Protection
L-R: Alli Nuhu, Kate Henshaw, Cristian Munduate - UNICEF Nigeria Representative, Cobhams Asquo and Waje at a media presentation of the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) Champions in Lagos, on Tuesday to serve as powerful voices in amplifying issues around child rights in Nigeria for one year.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Nigeria on Tuesday, installed Cobhams Asuquo, WAJE, Kate Henshaw, and Ali Nuhu as Child Rights Champions.
The advocates, who are celebrated music producers, musicians, and film actors will be powerful voices amplifying issues around child rights in Nigeria as UNICEF Champions for a 12-month period on Tuesday.
Within the one-year period, these champions will collaborate with UNICEF to raise critical issues affecting children in areas such as health, education, nutrition, child protection, water sanitation, and hygiene (WASH).
Speaking at a media presentation of the Champions in Lagos, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Ms. Cristian Munduate, who lauded the commitment and unmatched influence of the champions said: “We are truly elated to join hands with such influential voices in the entertainment industry – Cobhams, WAJE, Kate Henshaw, and Ali Nuhu.
“Their dedication and passion for children’s rights will undeniably amplify the urgency of the issues we fight for daily,” she stated.
Munduate further explained that the collaboration symbolises a bridge between the commitment to child rights and the power of art and storytelling.
She said through music, film, and public engagement, they hope to touch hearts, shift perspectives, and inspire action. As UNICEF champions, Cobhams, WAJE, Kate Henshaw, and Ali Nuhu will engage in numerous initiatives and campaigns designed to ensure every child’s right to survival, growth, development, and protection is upheld and championed.
Commenting, Cobhams who is also a UNICEF Children Ambassador said it was important to use music to tackle challenges facing the children as it influences future generations and reduces the flaws endemic in the country.
“It is impotent to extend the kind of affection and attention I received during my days as a child. That is why I am what I am today. Every gift you are giving is not just given to you but to pass on to others. Children need all the help they can get.”
Similarly, WAJE who claimed to have been at the forefront of tackling issues concerning children said there was a need to pay more attention to children.
Also responding to her new role, Kate Henshaw said she was passionate about advocacy noting that it was important to prioritise children for the country to attain development.
“If you don’t take care of children, they’ll be wiped out, and there will be nobody left. And children are so vulnerable, especially in Nigeria. They need special care. When a woman is pregnant and takes in, she gives birth to hope, aspirations, dreams, and all the energy she wants to pour into this child to become someone better than she is. So, no country should be in a position where children are vulnerable, discarded, used as toys to be played with, not given room to grow, to actualize their potential.”
She said, “In 2023, Nigeria needs to be more intentional about child education, nutrition, health, the mothers, the environment in which they’re raised, children in hard-to-reach places, where there are no roads, and you have to have a lot of field workers to reach them.”
“Being a Rotarian, I’ve had cause to go on immunisation tours with for polio vaccine. And I know that with tribe and religion, there are a lot of barriers, where people say because of my religion, you cannot do this, and so on. So, a lot of the mindset needs to be changed, to let people know that this is for your good.”
Contributing, Ali Nuhu, who recalled his growing days lamented the level of deprivation children in Northern Nigeria are facing adding that most of the children are deprived of quality education, good healthcare, and the right upbringing, care, and attention that a child should be given.
“Probably because you have a lot of homes where polygamy is practised in Northern Nigeria so, there are many children in every household, and how to cater and take care of those children is something very difficult. I’m a parent, and I have just two kids. And I know what it takes to take care of children. Every child has their share of problems. They need your attention, they need your care.
“With UNICEF, we’ve done some things in the past. So, having me on this platform, it’s something that excites me, because it allows me to fight for the rights of the children.
“In most of the streets in Northern Nigeria, you see children walking around, begging. Some look starved, and most don’t have access to education, and this troubles me a lot. What are we envisaging in the future? What do we think of a society that is not concerned about this? In Islam, it is the right of the child, for you to provide everything they need. So, I don’t know why people let their children roam around carelessly, and don’t take excellent care of them.”
He pledged to step down the message in the local languages up north for proper communication. “So, it is very important to step it down from that end, get to partner with the clergymen there, because people listen to clergymen very well in Northern Nigeria, get to meet parents, talk to them, maybe have Town Hall meetings, do some skits, and just pass the message across all sorts of platforms, to make people understand that it is very important to take care, and protect the child, and make sure that those children are not vulnerable to negative things in the society,” he added.