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May 22, 2015

Early Childhood Development Workshop Hosted by MOE

Early Childhood Development- it’s about the comprehensive care for children up to age eight and it is something that we are tackling locally. It is a matter of great importance. So much so that it has brought together three ministries and other partners to adequately address development of young children in Belize. Today we stopped in at a forum at the Radisson where we spoke with two of the partners behind this major initiative. They say that ground work that they are doing right now will yield major results for the country in the future:


David Leacock, C.E.O., MOE

David Leacock

For some time now we have been working on developing an intersectoral framework for the delivery of early childhood development delivery across three key ministries; education, human development and health. We are at the point where we have developed the beginning of that framework and now we are sharing it and getting into what the next steps ought to be.”


Andrea Polanco

“Are you able to talk to us about what the framework entails?”


David Leacock, C.E.O., MOE

“Well, essentially we drafted a policy document some years ago, but one of the issues with any policy, if you don’t have an implementing structure for any such policy, it is likely to sit on a shelf and not be implemented. So, subsequently we formed an inter-social sector ministerial caucus of ministers and CEOs, including several ministries, the three key ministries I just mentioned plus few others. One of our first pieces of actions was to work on this inter-sectoral framework, so what

We are looking at in those framework are what are those things we can do to improve impact by working together. What are the areas where we can have greater synergies and what are the areas where we can work jointly. So, we are looking at joint planning, joint target setting and working from a common plan”


Andrea Polanco

What are some of the specific things that you all hope to address in terms of what is being discussed here at the workshop?”


Judith Alpuche

Judith Alpuche, C.E.O., Ministry of Human Development

“Well, basically, the policy and the commitments that are coming out of the polic, the outcomes, looks from a broad view, look holistically, so when we are talking early childhood development  we are looking at children from birth to eight. What is it then that a child from birth to eight needs in order to fulfill his or her full potential. So, we are looking then at children who are born healthy  that they have stimulation services, proper nutrition, proper child care practices, theta their supported by the family. Family support to these young children is so critical and family play a important role, so how do we support families. SO, it is basically looking at the government’s responsibility in ensuring that services are available for children from birth to eight to grow and to have the best srat in life. This is something that the three ministries are particularly convinced of. There is so much studies, data and information about the solidness about early childhood development. We have one of the imminent advocates in the region, Dr. Maureen Samms-Vaughan, this morning did a presentation that early childhood development and investments in that area really are the best from an economic perspective, a social justice perspective, everything. When a child has the best start in life, it impacts on that child’s  life outcomes interms of the impacts it has in reducing crime rates, in reducing teen pregnancy, in children doing better at school, in just having more control emotionally and self development, etc. So, the impacts are so far reaching. Actually, one of the pieces of data that was quotes was that   the return on investment for early childhood investment is seventeen times higher than any kind of social investment”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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