by Jacques Hinkson-Compton
Social protection, child protection, education, climate resilience and youth engagement are the key program areas supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Saint Lucia.
UNICEF representative for the Eastern Caribbean, Pieter Bult said the agency’s mission evolves according to the needs of each country.
“I mentioned earlier the adaptability of UNICEF. For us its always important to learn the local context, the local situation of children and what the challenges are. There are similarities and things you can read about, but nothing beats actually visiting the island, meeting with the communities, officials, civil societies and learning about the situation of children is and what the challenges are that the children are facing.”
Mr. Bult also described productive and enlightening meetings with government officials.
“I learned about the youth economy. I think this is one of the challenges in Saint Lucia and in the Caribbean. I think we see in different parts of the world that youth unemployment is a really big issue and I think to address it we need to start early by investing in children, investing in education programs for all children and also making sure that our education programs are relevant: what society needs today. So we have had a very productive meeting, and since then I learned from some of the other ministries a lot more about what is already being done. So I am getting a good sense that there is a strong sense about the challenges and a clear strategy in terms of how to address that.”
UNICEF has assisted the Eastern Caribbean with advancing the causes of children since the 1950s.
SOURCE: Government Information Service. Headline photo: Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre meets UNICEF official.