UNICEF in Belize
UNICEF's commitment to Belize dates back to 1954. Environmental health, vector control, school feeding and the provision of primary school textbooks and supplies were a part of the response in the early decades of our work in Belize. UNICEF established an office in the same year that Belize gained its independence in 1981. Since then, UNICEF has partnered with the Government of Belize to promote legislative and policy changes and uses its global authority on children’s issues to support a variety of partners at grassroots levels to turn innovative ideas into reality. In shaping a Belize fit for children and women, UNICEF has supported education efforts, early childhood stimulation, legal and institutional reform, and stronger systems for juvenile justice, data management, monitoring and evaluation. UNICEF has also helped to develop an environment that fosters positive adolescent development and participation.
In accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF is committed to assist Belize achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. All of UNICEF support is also directed to fulfilling the Belize National Plan of Action for Families and Children (NPA).
Every five years, UNICEF works closely with the Government of Belize to complete a cycle of data collection; study the results-based evidence, analyses, and evaluations; identify gaps, strengths and weaknesses in the national response to children’s rights; and focus on areas for further collaboration. UNICEF Belize consists of a small team of thirteen staff in three main programme areas: child survival, education and development; HIV/AIDS, violence and adolescent development; and disparity reduction through public policy, investment and participatory governance. In identifying the priorities for attention, difficult decisions are made to ensure that results can be achieved in these three areas.
The current UNICEF Belize Country Programme is designed to build a culture of human rights, reduce disparities, ensure strong social investment, and build inclusive protective environments. Each programme component has clear policy, advocacy and social investment goals. In order to achieve better results for the most vulnerable communities and bring greater coordination and integration to the efforts by all partners, UNICEF Belize has promoted an integrated child-friendly community approach to women and children living in Toledo and Southside Belize City. A child-friendly community (CFC), wherein dynamic child-friendly schools are found, ensures an integrated, multi-sectoral and community-driven approach for the delivery of basic services to poor and vulnerable communities. To achieve children’s rights, the CFC is a great model for service delivery, institutional capacity building and community empowerment. It links poverty reduction and service delivery through the use of baseline surveys at the community level, engages with the Government of Belize to ensure outreach and access at the community level, and guides the allocation of resources in social investment.
UNICEF Belize seeks to mobilize resources, generate active participation in all the sectors of society, including government, institutions, NGOs, private sector, media and individuals in support of children, through the following strategies: