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Municipalities: Building with Children’s Needs in Mind

In 2014, the Sustainable and Child-Friendly Municipalities Agreement was signed by the Mayors of nine municipalities. The nine municipalities are the cities of Belize and Belmopan and the towns of Corozal, Orange Walk, San Ignacio, Benque Viejo Del Carmen, Dangriga, Punta Gorda, and San Pedro. This means that when planning and building are being done, these municipalities have a key responsibility to take into consideration the needs of our children.  As such, all municipalities should ensure that they build in such a way that will allow for the infrastructure and amenities to be safely accessible to our children. Love News spoke with Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist of UNICEF, Paulette Wade, who shared how the Child-Friendly Municipalities are creating equitable opportunities for our children; for example, by engaging them in the decision making process with other stakeholders in areas such as education and health.

Paulette Wade – Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist

“These child-friendly municipalities have I will say is two-pronged; looking at enhancing the service providers or the stakeholders’ duty bearers so people in education, health whatever how could we ensure that children in our municipality receive quality service in terms of education and health but as well there is a children component. How do we get young people engaged and be a part of the governance process so then there is what we call a technical steering committee and there is what we call a children advisory body. So these children also have a place on the council where their opinions are heard, where their concerns are addressed and a part of this municipality is that a part of whatever structure they are building the children must be able to review that infrastructure and look at it from a young person’s perspective and ask what is missing for them as children; because a lot of times we say we are building things for children but we are not really building things for all children. Remember we say for every child so not just the children that are walking but also the disabled. You know it was the children who brought to our attention that yes there are parks all over the country but the parks are not accessible to children who are disabled.”

This initiative is geared towards realizing the goal of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which largely focuses on the social protection of children.