Author Archives: Oluseyi Soremekun

Humanity benefits by listening, learning and working with Africans – UN Secretary-General declares

In commemoration of the Africa Day 2017, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, has declared that all of humanity would benefit by listening, learning and working with the people of Africa. “Africa”, he continued, “provides the majority of United Nations peacekeepers around the world. African nations are among the world’s largest and most generous hosts of refugees.”

Mr Guterress in his message to mark the Day disclosed that the UN partnership with Africa is also rooted in a deep sense of gratitude. “Africa includes some of the world’s fastest growing economies.” He noted.

The Secretary General reaffirmed his commitment as a partner, friend and committed advocate for changing the narrative about the diverse and vital continent.

Mr Guterres added that “Crises represent at best a partial view.  But from a higher platform of cooperation, we can see the whole picture – one that recognizes the enormous potential and remarkable success stories throughout the African continent.”

UNIC Director calls for family-friendly policies for work environment

In observance of the 2017 International Day of Families, the Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Nigeria, Mr Ronald Kayanja, has called for Policies that encourage corporate responsibility and family-friendly work environments. “Family-friendly policies, he continued, “are essential and have already been proved to improve workers’ productivity and dependability.”

Mr Kayanja made this call today in his opening address at the Africa Family Life Delegate Conference organised by Centre for Sex Education and Family Life. Addressing over 600 delegates at the conference, Mr Kayanja noted that the working conditions of parents affect their ability to play an active role in their children’s education. “The International Day of Families therefore, is a day to focus on needed policies to create a good nurturing environment at family level for children to grow. For parents to effectively play this important role of nurturers, they need time with their children as they grow up,” he explained.

Drawing inference from the conference theme, ‘The Role of Family Life Education in Transforming Africa’ which aligns with the global theme of the International Day, ‘Families, Education and Wellbeing’, the UNIC Director highlighted the crucial role of the family as the centre for early childhood education. “We know that the education a child is exposed to before reaching age 8 is a determinant of what type of person we will have in society. Parents, grandparents and relatives play a major role at this stage, as they work with early childhood teachers in elementary/ nursery schools.” He said.

Speaking, the First Lady of Lagos, Mrs Bolanle Ambode underscored the centrality of family to development and noted that ‘without family, no country; without country, no continent and no world.’ Represented by her Special Assistant, Dr Arinola Oluwo, the wife the Lagos State Governor explained that the only way to have a world of our dream was to fix the family.

Welcoming the participants, the Principal Consultant, Centre For Sex Education and Family Life, Mr Praise Fowowe, explained that a dysfunctional family system could not build a functional society. He called on everyone to commit to ‘creating and promoting an effective family life education that can deliver a developed family system which ultimately would deliver a developed society.’

Mr Fowowe added that the most important government may not be the government of a nation afterall; according to him, “the most important government is actually what we have coined the ‘Family Government’. We strongly believe that the Family Government is the production factory of the society and until we become intentional about the development of an effective family system, we may not witness a developed continent we so desire.”

In 1993, the UN General Assembly declared 1994 as the International Year of the family and also that 15 May each should be observed by all Member States as the International Day of Families. The General Assembly noted that ‘families are the fullest reflection, at grassroots level, of the strengths and weaknesses of the social and development welfare environment, and as such offer a uniquely comprehensive and synthesising approach to social issues.’ It was further observed that families, as basic units of social life, are major agents of sustainable development at all levels of society and that their contribution to that process is crucial to its success.

Road Safety is part of SDGs and should be promoted by all – Kayanja

“#SaveLives#SlowDown campaign relates to the Sustainable Development Goal 3 (Good Health and Well-being) and should be driven by all.” These were the words of the Director, United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Nigeria, Mr. Ronald Kayanja, when members of the #SafeCross Campaign and UNIC engaged to promote the Fourth United Nations Global Road Safety Week. ‘Safety on the road’, he continued, ‘is the responsibility of all and therefore, should not be left alone for the government.’

This year, the #SaveLives week, observed from 8 – 12 May is sub-themed #SlowDown. According to reports from the World Health Organization (WHO), the theme is based on statistics given that excessive or inappropriate speed contributes to one in every three road traffic fatalities worldwide. Yet, only 47 countries of the world follow good practice on one of the main speed management measures, that is implementing an urban speed limit of 50km/h or less and allowing local authorities to reduce these limits further on roads around schools, residences and businesses. Studies have also indicated that road traffic crashes remain the number one cause of death among young people aged 15-29 years.

Mr. Kayanja also applauded the role of the role of State and Federal government in installing speed and traffic management measures such as; Traffic lights, roundabouts, speed bumps, zebra crossings, establishing speed limits appropriate for every type road in the country.

Conveners of the #SafeCross campaign, Messrs Chuks Anyaduba and Utchay Odims emphasized that the campaign involved all road users, both the motorists and pedestrians, as the motorists were educated on the intricacies involved in driving while the pedestrians were also enlightened on their use of the road.

Mr Kayanja was later presented with the ‘#SaveLives#SlowDown campaign’ banner on which he and the National Information Officer of UNIC, Mr Oluseyi Soremekun, also appended their signatures.

 

Vacancy Notice: Hausa Language Information Assistant

 

 

 

 

 

Terms of Reference: HAUSA LANGUAGE INFORMATION ASSISTANT
City and Country of Post: Lagos, Nigeria
Contract Type: Individual Service Contract
Level: SB 2 Peg 3: Expected Commencement: July 2017
Duration: Initial 6 months. Renewable depending on availability of funds

Organizational Framework

United Nations Information Centre  (UNIC) Lagos  has the mandate to communicate the work of, values, priorities and initiatives of the United Nations in Nigeria and around the world to the Nigerian Population.
Background

The United Nations promotes peace, development, human rights and humanitarian assistance. The Northern States of Nigeria are in need of the combination of UN interventions, especially with the Agenda 2030 and following the Paris Agreement on climate change. This is a region that has seen long periods of insurgency and humanitarian crisis; the Lake Chad is drying up and agriculture has become more difficult. There have been reported human rights violations especially by insurgent groups. The population largely communicates in Hausa language. While most of the population depends on radio – in all the different available formats and platforms – there is an increasing number of young people who are active on social media. The information disseminated through radio and social media has potential to reach up to 50 million Hausa speakers in the Sahel region of Africa.

UNIC Lagos plans to establish a Hausa language service at the Centre that will enable the United Nations improve messaging to Northern Nigeria, with potential to reach the entire Sahel region on Africa.

In view of the foregoing, UNIC Lagos is searching for potential candidate to be recruited for the position of Hausa Language Information Assistant; who would be based at UNIC Lagos but will work closely with the media, especially radio stations in Northern Nigeria and the Nigeria External Service radio (Voice of Nigeria) for the implementation of activities as outlined above.
Functions / Key Results Expected
·         Translate and disseminate the daily UN Radio news productions to Hausa radio         programmes around the country

·         Translate other DPI messages and material that UNIC Lagos will use in campaigns, including OpEds from senior UN officials as appropriate

·         UNIC Lagos to participate in Hausa radio programmes productions with message themes from DPI

·         Establish Hausa language platforms on UNIC Lagos social media to target the young people

·         Participate in school/educational outreach programmes in Northern Nigeria using Hausa

·         Provide Hausa language materials for schools; journalists and other target groups

·         Participate in interviews with international media on UN issues in Hausa

·         Regular reporting on progress UNIC Lagos is making with deployment of the Hausa service
Core Values and Competencies
Integrity

·         Demonstrates the values of the United Nations in daily activities and behaviours. Acts without consideration of personal gain. Resists undue political pressure in decision-making. Does not abuse power or authority. Stands by decisions that are in the Organization’s interest, even if they are unpopular. Takes prompt action in cases of unprofessional or unethical behaviour.

Professionalism

·         Shows pride in work and in achievements. Demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter. Is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results. Is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns. Shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges. Remains calm in stressful situations.

Respect for Diversity

·         Works effectively with people from all backgrounds. Treats all people with dignity and respect. Treats men and women equally. Shows respect for and understanding of diverse points of view and demonstrates this understanding in daily work and decision-making. Examines own biases and behaviours to avoid stereotypical responses. Does not discriminate against any individual or group.

Other Competences

Communications

·         Speaks and writes clearly and effectively. Listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately. Asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication. Tailors language, tone, style and format to match the audience. Demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.

Team Work

·   Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals. Solicits input by genuinely valuing others’ ideas and expertise; is willing to learn from others. Places team agenda before personal agenda. Supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position. Shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings.

Planning and Organising

·   Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies. Identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required. Allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work. Foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning. Monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary. Uses time efficiently.

Client Orientation

·   Considers all those to whom services are provided to be “clients” and seeks to see things from clients’ point of view. Establishes and maintains productive partnerships with clients by gaining their trust and respect. Identifies clients’ needs and matches them to appropriate solutions. Monitors ongoing developments inside and outside the clients’ environment to keep informed and anticipate problems. Keeps clients informed of progress or setbacks in projects. Meets timeline for delivery of products or services to client.

Recruitment Qualifications
Education/Experience
Specifically s/he must:

·         Possess at least a university degree or its equivalent in Mass Communication or journalism

·         Be a native Hausa language speaker

·         Have experience living and working in Northern Nigeria

·         Have worked with the media for at least four years

·         Have a knowledge of the issues and challenges facing Northern Nigeria

·         Have some understanding of the United Nations

·         Have proven skills with social media

·         Be experienced with radio productions: production, directing, editing, digital radio and webcasting
Functional Competencies
·   Young, energetic and have some experience working as radio programmes producer in Hausa and preferably should have worked for one of the top Hausa radio stations in Nigeria

·   Good interpersonal skills  and ability to work effectively with team members, delivering through and with others;

·   Ability to apply judgment in the area of job assigned , plan own work and manage conflicting priorities;

·   Good writing skills  with  attention to details as well as understanding the conceptual frameworks;

·   Excellent communication and reporting skills;

·   Strong computer skills, including word processing, presentation packages (Power Point), Internet, etc;

·   Strong skills in the application of communication technologies;

·   Ability to work in a multicultural environment and in a team.

·   Good English Language skills
Method of Application
All interested applicants should send an application letter with detailed CVs to UNIC Lagos.

Thru:     lagos@unic.org                         Submission Deadline: 15 May 2017

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UN reaffirms commitment to supporting Nigeria in addressing economic recession and North-East Crisis

The Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator of the United Nations in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, has reaffirmed his commitment and that of the United Nations system in Nigeria towards supporting the country’s efforts aimed at addressing current challenges such as the current economic recession and responding to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the North-East. “I am also aware of the numerous challenges in the middle-belt and in the south of the country”, Mr Kallon acknowledged during his one-week mission (10 – 14 April 2017) to Lagos State where he engaged Lagos State government, the private sector, the media and a few Federal Government parastatals. He further committed to supporting the government in implementing the recently launched Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).  

“Addressing these challenges”, he noted, “would require a strong partnership between the Federal and State Governments and the United Nations.” “We need each other’s support and a strong partnership. A Stable North-East is good for business, a prosperous Lagos, is fertile ground for more investment and a stronger Nigeria is good for Africa.” He added.

Mr Kallon, who is also UNDP Nigeria Resident Representative, disclosed that his visit to Lagos afforded him an opportunity to engage with the Governor of Lagos State, H. E. Mr Akinwunmi Ambode and reach out to the private sector in order to explore avenues for enhanced partnership in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in addressing or the crisis in the North-East.

Discussing with Governor Ambode, Mr Kallon observed that “the phenomenal past growth and future growth prospects of Lagos should accrue equitably to all segments of society and all geographic areas of the State. There is need to ensure that the fruits of prosperity in the State are enjoyed by all. There is need to sustainably tame the ocean, pay attention to improving access to basic services while addressing poverty in all its dimensions without leaving anyone behind.” He emphasized, noting that the SDGs provided a framework which the State could use to address its development challenges.

“SDGs as a development framework is about national vision, national leadership and national ownership. We thus have a clear roadmap for the SDGs mainstreaming process. We should move with speed to begin its implementation bearing in mind that our comparative advantage does not lie in provision of financial resources but rather in technical expertise, cutting edge policy advisory support, institutional capacity building and convening power, bringing together all development actors around the table to discuss topical development issues.” He explained.

Responding, Governor Ambode reiterated the commitment of Lagos State Government to working with the United Nations. “We are willing and ready to learn from the UN experience and technical expertise.” He said.

Earlier on his mission, the Resident Coordinator paid a courtesy call on Nigeria’s former President, Chief Olusegun Obansanjo at his Hilltop residence in Abeokuta and also engaged with the Chairman of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote on the humanitarian crisis in North-East Nigeria and the need to act fast within the next eighteen months.

Mr Kallon who was accompanied on the mission by a few Heads of UN Agencies in Nigeria and other technical experts, also had interactive sessions with representatives of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in Lagos State; management of Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO) and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

Preventing genocide, a shared responsibility – UN Secretary General    

As the world marked the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda at the weekend, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has noted that preventing genocide and other monstrous crimes is a shared responsibility of all and a core duty of the United Nations. “The only way to truly honour the memory of those who were killed in Rwanda is to ensure that such events never occur again.” He said in a video message watched by 300 students and parents who had gathered in Abuja to mark the Day.

“The world must always be alert to the warning signs of genocide, and act quickly and early against the threat.” Mr Guterres continued, “History is filled with tragic chapters of hatred, inaction and indifference – a cycle that has led to violence, incarceration and death camps.”

The Secretary General therefore urged everyone to learn the lessons of Rwanda and work together to build a future of dignity, tolerance and human rights for all.

Welcoming the audience to the educational briefing event organised by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos in collaboration with the Rwanda High Commission and Start-Rite School, Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja, the National Information Officer of UNIC, Mr Oluseyi Soremekun, explained that “We are observing the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda to educate on the lessons of the genocide in Rwanda in order to help prevent similar acts happening anywhere in the future.”

He enjoined the students and other participants to see all tribes and religions as equal and complimentary of one another with none inferior to the other. ‘Tribes and tongues may differ’ Mr Soremekun continued, ‘but you must stand together in peace and unity.”

The Second Counsellor, Rwanda High Commission, Mr Protogene Nsengumuremyi, in his keynote address drew attention to the UN Security Council Resolution 2150 which condemns without reservation, any denial of the genocide and calls upon States that have not yet ratified or acceded to the Convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide to consider doing so as a matter of high priority.

The programme featured film screening, reading of survivors’ testimonies and a drama sketch performed by students of Start-Rite School, Abuja. The programme was attended by students from seven schools including the host school, Start-Rite.

April 7 every year is the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda.

Education and Peace, antidotes to poverty

Poverty surpasses a state of having little or no money and material possessions. It manifests in various forms such as hunger, poor health, limited access to education, discrimination, to mention a few and these effects of poverty can lead to lifelong struggles. The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere, is indeed one that should be achieved without leaving anyone out.

The UN reports that about one in five persons in developing regions live below poverty line and the first target of the SDG 1 seeks to eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere by 2030. On the scale of the Human Development Index (HDI) Report of 2015, Nigeria ranks 152nd out of 188 countries. The United Nations Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (UNGMPI) published in June 2015, gives an estimated percentage of poverty rate in the 36 states in Nigeria. An analysis of this report reveals that poverty in Nigeria correlates with level of education and the stability of each State. Therefore, we want to consider the role of low literacy/ education and high level of insurgency in poverty outlook in Nigeria.

According to UNICEF, Northern Nigeria records the lowest school attendance rate, particularly for girls. Education is directly related to the ability to earn enough to stay out of poverty, the higher the individual’s education, the more job benefits that become available. UNICEF supports efforts to increase equitable access to quality basic education and to improve learning achievements, special emphasis is given to girls’ education. According to the UNGMPI, Northern states in Nigeria record high rates of poverty with Zamfara 91.9%, Adamawa 59%, Borno 70.1%, etc. Whereas, the Southern states record relatively low rates with Lagos 8.5%, Ekiti 12.9%, Osun 10.9% etc. We hence can see a relationship between low literacy rate and poverty as seen in the North compared to the South. Education in all forms is key to breaking the cycle of poverty and it generally has an uplifting effect on other aspects of society.

The high poverty rate in the North-Eastern states in Nigeria can also be linked to insurgency in the area. The UNGMPI shows that the North-Eastern states are among the 15 states with the highest poverty rate. Borno 70.1%, Bauchi 86.6%, Adamawa 59.0%, Gombe 76.9%, Taraba 77.7%. Insurgency in North-East Nigeria has affected basic education negatively, it has also resulted in the internal displacement of persons. The Boko Haram activities which started in 2009 have left many homeless and displaced and these persons have been placed into Internally Displaced Persons camps in the North-East Nigeria. Life in these camps is not conducive as normal life remained a luxury the displaced persons could not afford. This situation has great impact on the poverty level.

The 17 SDGs are interlinked, right from Goal one to the seventeenth goal. ‘No Poverty’ for instance is interlinked to ‘Zero hunger’, ‘Quality education’ which is Goal 4 as well as Goal 16 which is ‘Peace Justice and Strong Institution’. The insurgency in the North-East has provided a good case studies to development experts and researchers and they have established a nexus between Poverty, education and peace. It needs no rocket science to see that where poverty is predominant, there cannot be peace. Similarly, A people that lack education would struggle in the area of economic development and more likely to get stuck in the poverty rut for a long time. To properly address poverty, everyone should take education seriously just as peace should be paramount in the mind of all. No doubt, Education and a peaceful atmosphere are antidotes to Poverty.

A lot of interventions have been carried out by the Nigerian government, the United Nations and its specialized agencies as well as Non-Governmental Organisations, but a lot still need to be done. It is of extreme importance for everyone, both young and old, private and public, individually and collectively, to be involved in the SDG 1 in order to end poverty in all its forms everywhere. You have a role. I have a role. We all have a role play in ending poverty everywhere.

Written by Sonia Ahanmisi (Intern)

Lagos Planning Ministry, UNIC, DFID take SDGs awareness to LGs

It was indeed commendable to see Lagos State’s development planners and representatives of Local Governments engaged in discussion on how to raise awareness and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the grassroots level. This was the case on Thursday, 30 March 2017, when the Lagos State Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget (MEPB) in collaboration with United Kingdom Department for International Development (UK – DFID) and the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) held a Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) awareness programme at the Library Auditorium of UNIC, Ikoyi Lagos.

The programme which was the third and the last in the series, included over 100 representatives from Local Government Areas (LGA’s), Local Development Area Council (LCDA’s) and Community Development Committee (CDC) under the Lagos Central Senatorial District. It was aimed at raising awareness of the SDGs and highlighting the need for everyone, including those at the various Local Government Areas, to understand the goals and the targets.

In his opening remarks, the Director of the United Nations Information Centre, Mr. Ronald Kayanja, underscored the importance of the SDGs to development planning for the next fourteen years. According to him, “It is important that we mainstream the global goals into the country’s development plan at the three levels of government: Federal, States and the Local Governments. We all have the responsibilities to localize the goals and ensure that they are deeply rooted in the society.”

The Director, Development Partnership Department (DPD), Mr. Bankole, the Director of Planning, Mr. Akinsanya, who represented the Lagos State Permanent Secretary as well as Mrs. Margaret Fagboyo, Program Officer, Department for International Development, (DFID) and other speakers highlighted the importance of the SDGs awareness programme to the total development of the society as it encourages participation across all levels. They noted that the SDGs would only be achieved if everyone was involved.

The workshop paraded ‘SDGs Champions’ who are members of MEPB previously trained by UNIC, UNDP and DFID in the past. They are to continually educate and work closely in the SDG planning process with those at the area level, achieving a bond between the state and local governments.

The 17 SDGs Champions were decorated with ‘SDGs Wheel’ pins by Mr Kayanja.

 

Youth, key to achieving SDGs in Nigeria

“Youth have a crucial role to play in the achievement of the Global Goals, otherwise known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They are great thinkers, innovative and drivers of change.” These were the words of Mr. Oluseyi Soremekun, National Information Officer of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, in his welcome address at the ‘Nigerian Youth SDGs Pre-Summit – Inspiring youth engagement, promoting youth participation’, held at the UN information Centre in Ikoyi, Lagos.

Mr. Soremekun who represented the Director; Mr Ronald Kayanja, introduced and explained the relevance of the SDGs to youth. He enjoined the youth to pull together their creative energies and harness the opportunities offered by the SDGs as an extension of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). He continued, “Youth must play an active role in the implementation and reporting of the SDGs. The goals are ambitious and all-encompassing giving room for everyone to contribute.”

The National Information Officer further stated that the SDGs as a development framework, addresses issues that are of interest to both the developed and developing countries; private and public sectors as well as the Civil society and the academia. ‘They are global goals that leave no one behind’, he added.

The pre-summit organized by NextGen Africa in collaboration with UNIC Lagos, had in attendance representatives of youth organisations from Lagos and neighbouring States. Speaking at the event, the Founder of NextGen Africa, Mr Joshua Alade explained that the purpose of the summit was to ensure that youths in Nigeria worked under one umbrella to achieve the global goals. The pre-summit included youth stakeholders in development and young people driven to attain the global goals in Nigeria.  Some of the stakeholders gave brief descriptions of their works and plans towards the achievement of the global goals.

The participants, who later broke into five discussion groups, discussed topics such as ‘How can we make economic and strategic case for the SDGs?’ ‘How can we break silos, catalyse and facilitate new forms of partnership and communities of practice – across sectors to deliver on the SDGs?’ ‘How can we raise the profile of the SDGs across the various sectors and the Nigerian public?’ ‘How can we develop a coordinated National approach to the SDGs?’ ‘How can we prioritize SDGs while ensuring nothing important is ignored and interlinkages between the goals are addressed?’ Representatives of the groups made presentations on the topics to the plenary.

The pre-summit rounded off with a mandate to the attendants to ensure adequate sensitization of the Nigerian youth on what the SDGs represent, using a unified, all-inclusive and participatory method to build a foundation for these goals towards a sustainable Nigeria.

Other organizing partners were United Nations Association of Nigeria (UNAN) and SustyVibes.