Plan International is today (20th) launching its full country operations in Nigeria on making it the 13th programme country for the organisation in West Africa and 51st globally.
Plan International Nigeria will focus on health, education, economic security, child protection and child participation in Africa’s most populous state.
The opening follows Plan International USA’s acquisition of the Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA) in 2012.
“Sixteen years after Plan Niger, the last Plan office opened in the region, we are very excited to welcome Nigeria as our 13th Country Office in West Africa,” said Adama Coulibaly, Plan’s Regional Director for West Africa.
With a population of 160 million people Nigeria’s population is equivalent to all other West African states put together. It is also the largest economy in the continent.
Plan CEO Nigel Chapman said: “A strong Plan operation in Nigeria would influence and support making child rights a reality in the most populous African state. Our ambition is to make Nigeria our largest programme in West Africa by 2020”
“From the very day that Plan acquired CEDPA, we have looked into the future where Plan, building on the successes of CEDPA programmes in Nigeria, will work towards ending poverty for millions of girls and boys in Nigeria,” added Offiong Enang, Deputy Country Director of Plan Nigeria.
“Plan’s work in Nigeria can add significant value, as half of population is under the age of 18 and there are various development challenges. There are gaps in child protection – including high levels of child marriage, female genital mutilation and child labour – while youth unemployment is also a growing problem,” added Ms Enang.
Building on CEDPA’s achievements, Plan will continue to work to strengthen and promote the rights of women in the country, while ensuring that all children, their families and communities enjoy their full rights.
The office’s priorities include increasing the enrolment of school children – especially girls, improving the health of women and children, and strengthening child participation in the Nigerian Children’s Parliament.
Plan will also lend its support to overall advocacy efforts in Nigeria around child rights and gender equality. Just 26 of Nigeria’s 36 states have adopted the national Child Rights Act as, and only 6.4% of seats in the national parliament are held by women.