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.