The best start for every child in Municipalty Novi Grad Sarajevo
By cutting the ribbon, newly appointed UNICEF Ambassador for BiH Mr. Edin Dzeko symbolically opened the Integrated Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre in Novi Grad Municipality in Sarajevo, as the first ECD center in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Mayor Mr. Damir Hadzic and the UNICEF Representative Ms. Florence Bauer, exchanged the Agreements in which they committed to co-finance the Center, with support of European Union, Norway and Department for International Development o the United Kingdom (DfID). All the costs will be co-financed with municipal governments. Each Center will serve approximately 15,000 people or some 2,600 children from 0 to 10 year of age.
“Not all of us were able to enrol our children into the formal preschool education, mostly because the lack of funds. Thanks to this initiative, my child will now be able to learn and play with his peers”, said one of the mothers, standing in the front of Center.
UNICEF established this innovative, multisectoral model of child care to provide wide range of services for children, parents and families focusing on vulnerable infants and children. These low-cost and cost-effective centres will collaborate and complement the existing health, nutrition, education and social protection services in municipalities. ECD Centers are not supposed to replace existing services but rather to help them improve their work and fill existing gaps in municipal services.
UNICEF is advocating a time-tested, globally applicable and effective integrated approach that takes into account the whole child and the range of her or his needs, before and from birth. It includes good health care and nutrition for children and mothers, psychosocial care and attention to early learning, along with protection from violence, exploitation and discrimination. Interventions in all of these areas work synergistically to support both children and their primary caregivers.
With the donor’s funds, UNICEF in BiH, currently can open 4 Centers in the country. However, this initiative became the basis for the local fundraising and the partnerships with the private sector. Mtel company was the first one to support the Campaign “The best start for every child”. Thanks to Telekom Srpske (m:tel) donation, UNICEF will be able to open two additional ECD Centres.
“In life, like in a game, the best start is essential for the final result”, said Edin Dzeko, UNICEF Ambassador for BiH at the opening ceremony.
Giving children the best start in life, so that they survive and thrive, lays the foundation for fulfilling all other child rights. UNICEF urges all policymakers to invest in the integrated approach to early childhood.
By Nineta Popovic