The Government of Belize in collaboration with UNICEF hosted an inter country exchange in early childhood development with Barbados and Eastern Caribbean States. The exchange concludes today with an open house in Belize City. Denise Robateau, Early Childhood Development and Education Officer at UNICEF says Belize showcased best practices in the country.
Denise Robateau, Early Childhood Development: “We are having an open house so to speak on an ECD Strategy called Care for Child Development but this week we have been very involved with Belize and our Government partners in hosting members states from the OECS and from CARICOM who are here to look at the best practices of early childhood development and how Care for Child Development is implementing within our sectors so UNICEF Belize partnered with UNICEF Barbados on a south south cooperation or a horizontal exchange where we are showcasing some of the best practices. This week the delegation went to Punta Gorda to observe the Roving Caregivers who are working in the communities where there is little access to early childhood development and so the Rovers were utilizing some of the information learned in Care for Child Development. How do you play? How do communicate with your child from birth right up to age eight, so to speak. Care for Child Development focuses on the earlier life in years from birth right up to like four or five years old so the delegation was able to observe some of these practices within the health clinic, within the community and also to participate in technical seminars on ending violence in the home for example so that is just a bit what took place this week and why we are here.”
Shellyann Harper, Early Childhood Specialist at UNICEF in the Eastern Caribbean says that they were especially interested in Belize’s inter-sectoral approach to early childhood development.
UNICEF Barbados Rep: “UNICEF Eastern Caribbean we support 12 countries in the Caribbean and of course a big part of our work is in terms of trying to support the improvement in the education system so really strengthening the access to quality early childhood. In our collaboration with Belize we recognize that Belize is using this Care for Child Development model which really emphasizes into sectoral collaboration and so for UNICEF that is important because we have also been trying with our partners across the Caribbean to find ways that we can work closer together recognizing that for a child under five you can’t segment. All of the pieces need to go together and we need health working with education, working with protective services to make sure that the overall early childhood experience is positive for all children and so our collaboration with Belize really started there because we knew that this was happening and it was a chance for me to bring some of the other countries along with me to see it in practice and so we were able to do that in terms of the training and sessions that we had here as well as our trip to pull to god into the field because then that allowed us to see the model being used in the different settings and then of course it helps us to also reflect on what we can do when we go back in to our own settings. Of Course we have got 12 countries that UNICEF works with. It is all independent governments and so the negotiations and discussions you know we have to do it some 12 times over but we feel that as a group then our voices are stronger together. “
Specialists from visiting countries held sessions with Belizean participants during the course of the exchange.