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Jan 12, 2016

Meet the New Children’s Rights Ambassadors

In 1990, Belize signed on to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.  Twenty-six years later, government through the National Committee for Families and Children has established a group called CRC Ambassadors, who will be deployed across the country to monitor compliance with the various commitments made under the convention. News Five’s Duane Moody was present when fifteen persons took the oath as youth ambassadors.

 

Darwin Westby, CRC Ambassador

“We knew ultimately, this has benefit for the children of Belize and their families. We were all bounded by the same selfish service for the greater good of Belize, more so for a cause so worthy. Our Belizean children are the future and we have the responsibility to safeguard them.”

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

At the ITVET Compound in Belize City, an induction ceremony was held for some fifteen youths who are taking on the task of sensitizing their communities on the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The CRC Ambassadors, as they are referred to, will assist with the overall mandate of the National Committee for Families and Children to promote, monitor and evaluate Belize’s compliance with its national and international commitments to children.

 

Anthony “Boots” Martinez

Anthony “Boots” Martinez, Minister of Human Development, Social Transformation & Poverty Alleviation

“It helps to enhance especially the children of the community and of Belize. This is a very important aspect in my view for…you know we have challenging times involving children and so on and so to have the young people serving as ambassadors for their own. And especially some of the ambassadors who had their own hard road to reach this stage here; it is very important for the ministry and the country of Belize.”

 

The cohort of ambassadors is well trained.  In November 2015, they were part of a three-day, rigorous training session that saw key stakeholders making presentations on tools currently in place to protect children.

 

Lindbergh Smith

Lindbergh Smith, Program Coordinator

“Tonight was the final step in officially bestowing upon them the title of ambassadors. And I think while it is a prestigious title, it’s quite a tall order for them because it is living up to it now. And so these ambassadors will have the privilege or the opportunity to go out there and champion children’s rights in their local community.”

 

Anthony “Boots” Martinez

“Those that are affected and to educate those that are not affected. So at the end of the day we have a better community, we have a better society. Most of the time you know…we have difficulty with parenting, parental skills. I think we need to have a look at that. But with these ambassadors, I think they can bridge that gap for us especially with the difficult time a lot of children have.”

 

Belize was the fifth country to sign on to the convention twenty-six years ago, back in 1990 and since then, there have been many developments and accomplishments on the protection and rights of children. The new ambassadors will be deployed across the country and their responsibility also includes making presentations at schools in an effort to reach out to parents and teachers, as well.

 

Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education

“Back in the day, children were to be seen and not heard; in fact, children were considered in some instances to be subhuman and they were ill-treated in many regards. And with the convention that was readily embraced—more so readily that others like Belize—but many countries have embraced the convention and in fact, the status of the treatment of children as a result has improved tremendously and for that we are grateful to the entire world beucase this is a worldwide effort.”

 

Lindbergh Smith

“Officially, February of this year, they should begin and they should do two presentations per month while on standby for any call from time to time. Now they must do their monthly reports, their monthly calendars so NCFC could know which group they are targeting, which group they are presenting to and that will give us a track of how many kids or the audience that we are reaching and the effectiveness of it. Now in the report writing part of it, they will give me the accomplishments, their challenges; what they need to build on and perhaps window of opportunity.”

 

In the presence of several officials, as well as families and friends, the young men and women took the oath to officially become ambassadors. Ambassador Darwin Westby says they have all the relevant tools and are ready for the program.

 

Darwin Westby

Darwin Westby

“We have been networking and communicating from the first day of training; a bond was forged and an alliance was formed ensuring that the mantra of this program descends on every corner of this beautiful Jewel. We dialogue regularly, created a Facebook page so that everybody can feel free to join us and the idea bank keeps getting daily deposits. Look out for the ambassador tsunami coming your way. Progress is being made; the program is launched the ambassadors are officially ready and the journey now lies before us.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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