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#422055 - 11/15/11 01:34 PM What is the State of Belize's Children?
Marty Offline
At the top of tonight's newscast, we told you about a 10 year old boy who had been raped in Dangriga. And, indeed, It seems like every week on the news, there is some new outrageous assault against a child. And that's why the National Committees for Families and children has organized the first ever state of the Nation's Children Conference.

The theme is Coordination the Child Protection System: Building Protective Environments and for three days, they will examine the issue from different angles.

Today was the opening where key government, civil society and community partners gathered to come up with priority actions. At the top they pointed out that all those hideous crimes against children reported on the news - are just symptoms of a deeper problem. Minister of Human Development Eden Martinez keyed in on that in his address:..

Eden Martinez, Minister of Human Development
"In many ways it is the inability to fulfill other rights that makes our children vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and of coming in conflict with the law."

"We have very frequent reminders in the media, cases are reported in the news that bring into sharp relief just how difficult these matters can be and have highlighted just how unsafe our children are. Indeed the most recent cases of abuse highlighted in the news have demonstrated that in every sphere, in their homes, in their schools and in their communities at large children are victims of heinous acts perpetrated against them by those who should be protecting them, family members, family friends and others who have a direct responsibility to keep them safe."

Day two of the conference takes the dialogue out of the hands of the professional discussants and puts it in the hands of close to 500 children and teachers from standard VI and first forms from all over the country who will share their views and ideas on child protection.

Channel 7


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#422068 - 11/15/11 01:56 PM Re: What is the State of Belize's Children? [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

What is the state of Belize’s children? That is what the National Committee for Families and Children in the Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation, Ministry of Education and Youth along with the Special Envoy for Women and Children and UNICEF hoped to answer this Morning. The Conference convened key stakeholders to address the structural impediments that prevent the full realization of the rights of children; protecting them from all forms of violence abuse and neglect. The first State of the Nation Children’s Conference was held at the Biltmore Plaza and seeks to address child protection at all levels. Guest speaker for the conference was, Hon. Peter Eden Martinez, Human Development and Social Transformation Minister, with responsibility for children.

Hon. Peter Eden Martinez, Minister, Human Development and Social Transformation
We may use different terminologies, but I do believe that we all agree that children should have an opportunity to grow and develop to their fullest potential, to be safe and to generally enjoy their child hood. As a society, we also believe that it is the duty of the adults to create the enabling environment for these things to happen. Indeed, the most recent cases of abuse highlighted in the news has demonstrated that in every sphere, in their homes, in their schools, and in their communities at large, children are victims of heinous acts perpetrated against them by those who should be protecting them, family members, family friends and others who have a direct responsibility to keep them safe.

Several plenary and discussion sessions are scheduled; among them-how to build protective environments for children using comprehensive and integrated approaches. The three-day conference is been held under the theme “Coordination the Child Protection System: Building Protective Environments”.

PlusTV


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#422196 - 11/16/11 02:00 PM Re: What is the State of Belize's Children? [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Children Speak On Their Rights

As we told you last night, the first State of the Nation Children's Conference started yesterday at the Biltmore. The issue is that children have rights, but structural problems in society are denying them the safety and security that those rights should assure.

Yesterday, the grown-ups discussed the issue and today children and young adolescents gave their testimony inside the Belize Elementary School Auditorium. Executive Director of NCFC Pearl Stuart told us what they hoped to learn:

Pearl Stuart, Executive Director of NCFC
"The first day was yesterday, that is where we had the stakeholders or what we called the duty bearers. Those entities, agencies, individuals that are in fact responsible for protecting our children and we had a very good conferences yesterday in fact what came out of that was actually a group that will be drafting up what we are going to called a child protection action plan. It will take a little while to get that together because we want the implementers, who are the ones that will be helping to draft this, to actually tie in with timelines as to when these particular activities will be taken place, so that will be done. We are looking at a draft, perhaps another week to ten days and today we have the children participation. We are trying to get a culture of young people involve in what's happening to them so this is the first of them participating in the issues affecting them. We are hoping and if you look you will notice that they have their shirts on that say that they're change agents and I am sure you will be talking to some of them. To in fact learn how to go about doing that, take that back to their schools, get the others involve and in fact become what it says, a change agent."

"Now we're hoping that next year, when they come back, they will in fact hold us to task of the things that they feel should be done and this is the first of what we hope will become an annual State of the Nation Children Conferences."

"We've had a spate of child abuse, we've had neglect, we've had rape. We can't do that, we are all responsible for our children. And I have been saying repeatedly it begins from the home to the schools to the churches to the communities at large to the government officials to any and every one of us plays a part including the media and you guys are to be commended because you did a very good job recently in fact hiding the identity of some of our victims and I really applaud you guys for that."

At the close of the event, the students were tasked to identify ways their schools can become more active in standing up for the rights of children in Belize. Children's Participation Groups will be formed all over the country as well, as a means of strengthening Belize's child protection network.

Channel 7


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#422202 - 11/16/11 02:06 PM Re: What is the State of Belize's Children? [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

State of Nation Conference for Kids

About four hundred primary school children gathered in Belize City today for day two of what is billed as the first State of the Nation Conference. Organized by the National Committee of Families and Children, the three day event is being held under the theme “Coordinating the Child Protection System: Building Protective Environments.” On Monday, the conference looked at the exploitation and abuse of children and today the focus shifted to advocacy. News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports.

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Over three hundred and fifty students from ages ten through to fourteen from across the country gathered at the Belize Elementary Auditorium for the ‘State of the Nation Children’s Conference.’ The aim is to increase awareness and foster a participatory attitude among the children to be advocates of change:

Stephanie Moody, Information, Education & Communication Officer, NCFC

Stephanie Moody

“Today we turn the focus on children to ask them how they can be involved in advocating for their own rights and we also been trying to inspire them to think of themselves as change agents and understanding that they have a role to play also in protecting themselves and in participating in issues that affect them. And so today is an exercise in inspiring them to be more active in their communities, in their homes and in their schools and also a way for NCFC to encourage young people to be advocates. The children love it. One of the things we were keen to make sure was that it wasn’t a day of school. It was a day that they learned but it was interactive and it was fun and it was something that they would remember and be excited about coming back next year.”

Dylan Williams

The NCFC and Youth for the Future will be conducting periodical follow-ups with the students:

Dylan Williams, Monitoring & Evaluation Officer, NCFC

“Yes, what we wanted to do was through a pledge activity in sense that we come to these activities and we leave the children not understanding what’s the next step. So what we created was through the form of a pledge. What these children would then do is that whatever pledge that they believed they could take to their community, to their schools and see what they can realistic for them to achieve in terms of their participation. And within three months time to follow up with them to see how far they got with that. And we know that it’s not necessarily easy when we set goals. It’s not easy to have them achieve within any set time period. But what we want to do is that if they have any challenges that can be linked with youth for the future or any other agencies that is doing something for youths—the scouts, the guides, the duke of Edinburgh program—how they can link other linkages to ensure that their pledges either evolve or other linkages are made into that.”

The participants were gifted with a small bag of educational materials, which Moody says, contains a special little book, called ‘Agenda 2012’

Stephanie Moody

“We gave them a children’s agenda because we felt as young children they needed to know about their rights; it’s like a communication tool to teach children about their rights. And it is also a fun book for them to keep track of how their year is going. We think that children don’t have much to worry about other than just going to school, but they have social lives and they have things that they want to keep track of and it was a cute little book to have them do so. And in it we have messages from some of the leaders that convey certain hopes and inspiration to them. So it was basically a communication tool that we used.”

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

Day three of the conference has been postponed until the Prime Minister is back in the country.

Channel 5


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