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Jun 4, 2021

Sanitization Kits Presented to Schools

As schools plan for their September reopening and others are already in phased reopening, there is a need for supplies to keep the children and staff COVID-free. Today, there was a donation of much needed materials and News Five was there.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

A hundred and fifty-seven sanitization stands, along with ninety-eight gallons of liquid hand sanitizers, were donated to the Ministry of Education this morning.  The contribution was the result of a collaborative effort between the U.S. government and UNICEF as part of the international COVID-19 response.  At a brief handing over today, UNICEF Representative in Belize, Alison Parker, explained how the initiative came to be.


Alison Parker

Alison Parker, UNICEF Representative, Belize

“UNICEF actually has a five-year cooperation plan with the Government of Belize.  So we’ve been supporting the Government of Belize over the last five years and the U.S. government has been an integral part of that incremental support to the government.  So this is just one of many initiatives that we have together.  But this particular intervention was linked to COVID-19 last year when we recognized that the schools were closed and that distance learning had to be provided and at the same time some of the same families were impacted by hurricanes Eta and Iota.  So the support from the U.S. government came to support those families, ensuring that we can go house to house and deliver some of those much needed humanitarian support to them and this included the same ECD kits, hygiene kits, as well as some tools for the caregivers, the mothers and parents to take care of their children.”


The United States government, through the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, has since provided three hundred thousand dollars in grants to UNICEF to combat the spread of the virus through improved hygiene in public schools.


Keith Gilges

Keith Gilges, Chargé d’Affaires

“Part way through this project when the floods happened, they said, “Hey, can we reprogram some of this money because that‘s the direct need we see right now.”  And our answer is, “Sure, ask us what you need and make that happen.”  And so we were able to redirect some of that money.  So this is the final part of that grant, to provide these wash basins to schools, to provide some of the equipment and everything, again, to give the tools to the students and the teachers and they need to take them up and enforce the protocols so that we can get through this and get back to in-person learning which is so vital for the development of students.”


The distribution and use of the sanitization stands will ensure that children in schools have an additional form of protection from COVID-19 and other diseases.  Over five thousand children in forty-five primary schools will benefit from the contribution, particularly from the ECD kits.


Francis Fonseca

Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education

“What we are doing here today is a part of that process.  It’s a part of helping us along that journey of reopening schools in a safe and responsible way.  We are very, very happy to receive these ECD kits.  Early childhood development is a critical priority for the Ministry of Education.  It is something that I am very passionate about and as you said, Alison, those formative years are very, very critical.  That is where our young students, our young children get the attitudes, develop the attitudes, the skills, that early foundation that will carry them throughout the rest of the education system.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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