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Jun 8, 2017

A National Agenda for our Children

The Children’s Agenda 2017-2030 was launched today, but signed on May fifteenth between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.  The document is a road map that outlines the development of children and adolescent from ages zero to nineteen for the next fourteen years. The agenda, according to the National Committee for Families and Children, is Belize’s commitment to international instruments such as the Convention on the Rights of a Child. The framework focuses on the role of families and family oriented policies in promoting education, safety, economic opportunity and overall well-being of their members. Today, we spoke with Margaret Nicholas of N.C.F.C. about the agenda and what it means for every child in Belize.

 

Margaret Nicholas

Margaret Nicholas, Executive Director, N.C.F.C.

“We are hoping that we will be able to roll out more assistance to parents; more training so that they are better able to parent these children and better access to education, better access to health services, better access all over. I mean, even if we look at youth justice and children who are in conflict with the law. How can we now realize the whole matter of free legal aid? That is one of the things we want to do, promote free legal so that children are well represented. One of the things that we want to do is to move towards closing down some of these institutions for children and rather look at restorative programs; look at mediation; things that will help families and children to better live in our society.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“When we look at these plans, many people think that it is the people in the urban areas who benefit most from these kinds of plans and people who live in remote communities they fall through the cracks or they get overlooked when these plans are being implemented. How do we ensure that the children in the farthest corners of Belize are included?”

 

Margaret Nicholas

“Hence the reason why we are going to be training rovers and the rovers work with the Ministry of Human Development and they are going to communities, villages, homes and work with parents helping them to understand how to rear their children, how and when to breastfeed. Like I said, it will be village by village, community by community and we will have to engage as many persons as we can.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“When we reach 2030, based on this plan, what should the state of the children’s lives in Belize look like at 2030 should all of these things be implemented?”

 

Margaret Nicholas

“Should all these things be implemented, our children should be able to go to the Olympics and have gold medals because they will have better sporting facilities because they will be properly supported; that they will have access education to have them develop into the men and women who will take over the society. They are also going to have access to drinking water, sanitation, be living in better homes, safer homes, and safer environments. Because the plan also works closer with the child friendly municipalities as well. It works closer with the national youth policy, it doesn’t stand alone. It is cross cutting and there are a number of other agencies that are involved in the implementation of the plan. It is not a stand alone.”

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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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