Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Canada allots P300 M for Visayas kids dev’t

UNICEF to implement program in Cebu City, 5 provinces

CEBU CITY — Children in the Visayas may soon find themselves healthier and well protected as the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has committed to provide more than R300 million in grant to the Sixth Country Program for Children (CPC 6) of the United Nations Children’s Funds (UNICEF).

In the next three years, CIDA, through UNICEF, will assist the provinces of Guimaras, Capiz, Antique, Negros Oriental, Eastern Samar, and Cebu City in ensuring the proper implementation of a development program for children.

Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines Peter Sutherland and UNICEF country representative Dr. Nicolas Alipui will launch the CPC 6 today at the Cebu City Marriott Hotel together with the five provincial governors and Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmena.

"I am pleased with our collaboration with UNICEF and the local government units in the Visayas. UNICEF is a recognized world leader in child rights and child protection which Canada fully supports. Canada’s partnership with local government units in various regions has spanned more than a decade. CIDA’s assistance in this program will serve to complement our work in improving local governance," Sutherland said.

CPC 6 is based on the Child-Friendly Movement, a child rights-based model of sustained community development that UNICEF has been following since 1999.

The program seeks to assist local governments and organizations to realize the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child of which Canada and the Philippines are both signatories.

The approach requires engaging and rallying local governments, communities, private sector, media, parents and children towards the goal of child protection. It combines intensive advocacy, local policy development and strategic interventions in significant aspects of a child’s life including health and education.

The UNICEF program aims to reduce development differences among remote and marginalized communities in key indicators of human development: child mortality, nutrition, maternal health, education, and early childhood care.

This approach, which UNICEF has been using, has been an effective community-based model for enlisting multisectoral support for realizing the Convention of the Rights of the Child objectives through local level partnerships.

Functional principally at the barangay, municipal, city and provincial levels, the program helps a range of institutions to concentrate efforts to achieve the 25 basic targets for children, including birth registration, integrated child health, safe motherhood, early childhood care, childfriendly schools, councils for the protection of children, diversion of youthful offenders from detention and court proceedings and child participation in decision making, among others.

The five provinces and Cebu City have been using the Child-Friendly Movement approach in the last five years and have achieved significant gains.

Through CIDA’s assistance, the local government units can ensure that the goals for children are achieved.

"Canada through CIDA has worked to strengthen its emphasis on basic human needs by focusing on four social development priorities. Three of the priorities include a child focus on basic education, HIV/AIDS, and health and nutrition, and the fourth, child protection, focuses exclusively on the most marginalized children," Ambassador Sutherland said.

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