New DFID-UNICEF Project to Safeguard Children in the British Overseas Territories
MONTSERRAT- 28 February 2014 - A new project aimed at improving the lives of children in the Overseas Territories of Anguilla, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands and Virgin Islands UK was launched here today.
The three-year Child Safeguarding in the Overseas Territories Regional Project is collaboration between the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and UNICEF. Its aim is to increase the capacity of the territories to address the range of issues confronting children and ultimately to significantly improve their lives.
The US$1.2 million project will specifically seek to generate the up-to-date and reliable data needed to plan properly for children; develop sound national laws, policies and programmes for children; as well as determine how best to budget scarce national resources to improve the conditions of children and their families.
Speaking at the launch, which was transmitted live to on-line audiences in the other overseas territories, British Governor to Montserrat Adrian Davis said the DFID-UNICEF collaboration was a sound one which should deliver tangible results to children across the territories.
He was supported by Premier Reuben Meade who gave his Government’s and personal commitment to ensuring the success of the project and called for a total national partnership to safeguard the interest of children.
“These issues have to be tackled as a broad based partnership so let us in the broadest possible partnership take forward this project as our own. DFID, UNICEF, our local organisations, including the church, our social clubs and a range of government organisations must be on board,” he added.
DFID Social Development Adviser Dr Mary Thompson said she had already witnessed a readiness to confront some of the problems faced by children, such as child sexual abuse, and expected the new partnership to go a long way towards creating a more positive environment for children in the overseas territories to grow up in.
“They are very difficult deep problems facing children and we won’t solve them with one project or two projects, but it will take a life time commitment to improve the safeguarding of children. A lot of work has been done to raise awareness of the problems and we must continue,” Dr Thompson added.
UNICEF Representative Khin-Sandi Lwin said the project will go beyond issues of child sexual abuse and its successful implementation will help to develop political and community level support to participating governments to design, develop and implement robust child safeguarding policies and practices.
The project’s focus will be the most disadvantaged children in the four British Overseas Territories.