UNICEF assists in strengthening child protection programmes and services in 2019

by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada

  • Draft work plans reviewed by UNICEF and government partners
  • Key focus includes social safety nets and SEED programme
  • UNICEF Multi-Country Programme covers 12 countries

Upon revision of the progress made in 2018, UNICEF Office for the Eastern Caribbean and the Government of Grenada are analysing draft work plans for 2019.

These work plans on UNICEF-supported activities aimed at improving safety net services and protection of children and adolescents were reviewed with various stakeholders from the Ministry of Social Development, Child Protection Authority, Ministry of Education and other NGOs.

On Tuesday, 11 December, a team of UNICEF representatives engaged these stakeholders on the progress made and challenges in the implementation of various programme areas. Group discussions deliberated areas of support for activities in Grenada related to national priorities to achieve results for the protection of and provision for children and families and to identify priority results for the 2019 Annual Workplan. This initiative is part of the Eastern Caribbean Multi-Country Programme which works closely with 12 countries and territories in the Eastern Caribbean Area to help governments fulfill commitments to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to ensure that every child can reach his or her full potential.

The UNICEF Multi-Country Programme (2017-2021) covers 3 programme areas:

1) Lifelong Learning,

2) Safety and Justice for Children

3) Social Inclusion and Child Rights Monitoring.

The crosscutting programme areas are monitoring and evaluation, communication, gender, climate change, and disaster risk reduction. The Ministry of Finance through the Economic Economic and Technical Cooperation acted as a conduit in facilitating this meeting. The acting head of the Economic and Technical Cooperation Department said the meeting was quite fruitful as these local organisations stand to benefit from both technical and financial resources from UNICEF. “UNICEF as one agency that has some assistance and resources that they may be able to give especially as it relates to technical resources and assistance, policies and legislative drafts that they can help with but in terms of major investment they may not be able to fund a major investment but they can help put together an investment plan in terms of child protection.”

Acting Director of Ministry of Social Development, Housing & Community Empowerment Chrissie Worme Charles said the meeting highlighted some gaps that existed in their existing programme. “We reviewed the existing programmes that we have and the gaps that we have within those programmes to address some of the current needs so that it can better fit the needs of our people in addition to that we are looking at programme sponsorship because UNICEF has always been a partner with us so looking at some of the programmes and initiatives in 2019 and beyond so that we can focus on overall development.”

Director of Child Protection Authority, Yvonne Da Breo said one of the main focus areas for 2019 is child sexual abuse and how that issue can be dealt with on all levels. “When we talk about child protection, we also have to look at some of the risk factors with reference to child protection and the approach is a preventative approach so against this backdrop, the focus will be on all aspect of children with reference to education and social support. One of the key focus is social safety nets and SEED programme…what we want to do is to look at is a holistic mechanism with reference to child protection not only on child sexual abuse but other areas of child abuse including neglect, abandonment, physical abuse, and bullying.”

The draft work plan would be reviewed by UNICEF and government partners in Grenada following the meeting and finalised in January 2019.

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