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Jun 20, 2017

UNICEF, press discuss MICS 5 survey

In 2015, the Statistical Institute of Belize, along with UNICEF, embarked upon an extensive survey which would yield the most important sources of data used for situation analyses and policy decisions for informing public opinion on children and women, as well as influencing the public debate.  Today, the media was invited to meet with UNICEF representatives to discuss the findings of the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 5.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano was on hand for that open dialogue and files the following report.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Did you know that in Belize the current number of children under the age of five is roughly eleven percent of the country’s population?  That’s the equivalent of almost thirty-four thousand infants.  While that figure is only a subset of the total number of children of primary school age, early childhood development is not limited to education.

 

Denise Robateau, Early Childhood Development Officer, UNICEF

Denise Robateau

“The development of the child is not only focused on learning.  It’s important for a child to be cared for in a safe, nurturing environment that is responsive, and really that starts from before the child is born.  So, many times in the past, and even now, when we talk about early childhood development sometimes it’s just to focus on early childhood education.  The work of the Government of Belize is showing that the work in early childhood development is for everyone, it’s for all sectors.  It starts from within the womb and then it continues in the home, that’s where the child is for the first three years and the interventions during that timeframe is very important for the development of the child.”

 

In realizing the importance of early childhood development, the Government of Belize has taken an inter-sectoral approach to dealing with the advancement of children.

 

Paulette Wade

Paulette Wade, Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist, UNICEF

“What the country is doing in terms of early childhood development is great.  And when I talk about early childhood development I’m not only talking about their preschool experience.  I’m talking about the right to ensure that they’re registered, that ninety-six percent, the right to some sort of ECD, the right to good health, all those things have been improving, especially when we looked at what the Ministry of Health is doing.  The Ministry of Health has decided to take a very practical approach to children and their wellbeing.”

 

According to information released by the Statistical Institute of Belize, following the Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey Five, sixty-five percent of children between the ages of one to fourteen were subjected to at least one form of psychological or physical punishment by household members.  The yearlong study was conducted jointly with UNICEF.  The results, for Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, Paulette Wade, are quite evident.

 

Paulette Wade

“What mostly stands out is the physical punishment and psychological aggression that children experience in the home.  What was key and came out for us is that children between the ages of three and four have been very violently abused.  In terms of mixed language, when we talk about violently abused we are talking about hitting on the head, slapping real hard, beating over and over again with all your might.  And we know that children who are in those situations perpetrate violence, so if there’s violence in the home there will be violence in street and I think that as we approach the situation of looking at violence in our streets we need to start looking at first of all address the violence that are in the home.”

 

Isani Cayetano reporting for News Five.

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