VENTANILLA, Peru, 1 March 2011 – UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Martin Mogwanja recently visited Ventanilla, an urban district half an hour from the Peruvian capital, Lima, to learn about the living conditions of Peru’s children and adolescents.
|VIDEO: 21 February 2011 - UNICEF correspondent Chris Niles reports on Deputy Executive Director Martin Mogwanja's visit to UNICEF programmes for vulnerable children in Peru. Watch in RealPlayer|
During his trip, Mr. Mogwanja was able to take a close look at the support UNICEF Peru provides through its child survival and development, child protection, health and education programmes.
His first stop was a ‘Wawa Wasi,’ or children’s home, in Pachacutec, where children aged six months to four years receive care. UNICEF contributes to the support of 154 Wawa Wasis in Ventanilla attended by 1,500 children whose mothers work or study.
At the centres, parents and children alike receive psycho-social support and are taught good hygiene practices, illness prevention and nutrition. Parents also are educated on the benefits of raising children in a non-violent environment.
|© UNICEF Peru/2011/Meneses|
|UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Martin Mogwanja holds a child who is part of the 'Wawa Wasi' children's home programme in Ventanilla, a poor district near Lima, Peru.|
Mr. Mogwanja spoke with mothers and members of the national Wawa Wasi programme staff, and recognized efforts made in reducing anaemia and malnutrition through the use of multi-micronutrients known as ‘Sprinkles.’
He watched the children eat a breakfast of enriched rations, tasted the highly nutritious cereal called quinoa and shared a cup of milk with a young girl called Pamela.
A refuge for children
Mr. Mogwanja then visited another beneficiary of the programme – a mother who leaves her two children at a Wawa Wasi before leaving to work at the local market. She told him her children had suffered from chronic malnutrition but are now healthy, thanks to the care they receive at the children’s home.
The Defence Centre for Children and Adolescents, a municipal service that attends to cases of violence and abuse against women and children, was the next stop. Here, Mr. Mogwanja learned that approximately 25 people arrive daily in search of psychological help and, in some cases, legal counselling, due to the large number of local cases of violence and abuse.
|© UNICEF Peru/2011/Meneses|
|Accompanied by UNICEF Deputy Representative in Peru Melva Johnson (right), UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Martin Mogwanja walks through the streets of Ventanilla, a poor district that suffers from high levels of malnutrition.|
The last site visited was a UNICEF-supported child-friendly school, part of a network of schools known for providing an education that emphasizes equality.
‘Gaps and inequalities’
Mr. Mogwanja said UNICEF was carrying out important work in Peru but stressed the need for more international cooperation.
“Despite the economic growth, there are still gaps and inequalities in the country that prevent the population from having full access to health, education and social programmes, and which require the support of international cooperation, particularly in relation to the development of policies for the benefit of the children,” he added.