Awareness for Parliamentarians on Early Childhood Development in Vanuatu

Acting Clerk Leon Tete (top left) and members of his staff and on the right (r-l) Fabiola Bibi, Rebecca Olul and Roslyn Arthur David at their meeting.

Advocacy on Early Childhood Development (ECD) in Vanuatu is expected to reach Members of Parliament when they next meet at the next sitting of Parliament in mid-March, 2018.

The Acting Clerk of Parliament, Leon Teter, gave this undertaking to three officers of UNICEF, who met with him and his staff on Friday to discuss the possibility of advocating and promoting early childhood development in the country to parliamentarians, policy makers and decision-makers in Vanuatu.

Roselyn Arthur David - UN Coordination Officer at the UN Joint Presence Office, Fabiola Bibi - Education Consultant at the UNICEF Vanuatu Field Office and Rebecca Oul, Communications Officer at the UNICEF Vanuatu Field Office met with Mr. Teter and members of his staff. They discussed ways to get the message about early childhood development to the law makers and policy makers.

“The core messages in the advocacy plan are: nurturing care in the early years ensures individuals and societies thrive; human brain develops faster after conception and through the ages of 2-3 than at any other time in life. It is also the time when children respond most readily to interventions and young children’s healthy development depends on nurturing; 43 per cent of all children under the age of 5 in low and middle income countries are at higher risk of not reaching their development potential due to stunting, poverty and disadvantage; effective parent support programs which provide training and resources for parents can significantly improve the quality of nurturing care for young children; to provide nurturing care for children, families need supportive policies, programs, and services from their communities; and The Time to Act is Now!”

UNICEF is carrying out the work of early childhood development on behalf of the Ministry of Education and the three women who met with the Acting Clerk with the aim to get the advocacy to the parliamentarians represent a committee made up of a number of stakeholders and partners in the exercise.

They plan to use: a 2 minute and a 5 minute videos from ECD Conference; “IT takes a village to raise a child, a 45 min documentary film; Cord message – The Lancet Early Childhood Development Series; a Report on Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) in the Pacific. They also plan materials to be shared in UNICEF-branded flash drives with the 52 MPs and additional 5 for the Parliament Library and Secretariat to deliver the messages on ECD to the parliamentarians.

Jonas Cullwick, a former General Manager of VBTC is now a Senior Journalist with the Daily Post. Contact: jonas@dailypost.vu. Cell # 678 5460922

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