UNICEF Executive Director Mr. Anthony Lake completes his mission in Nepal
14 January 2012, Kathmandu – UNICEF Executive Director Mr. Anthony Lake completed his mission to Nepal today. He arrived in the valley on 11th January to observe first-hand the programmatic interventions of UNICEF Nepal in ensuring the well-being of Nepali children and women.
Mr. Lake met the Honourable Minister of Finance – Mr. Barsha Man Pun and the Vice-Chair of National Planning Commission (NPC) – Mr. Dipendra Bahadur Kshetry to discuss opportunities to work together to reduce deprivations among children in hard to reach and marginalized areas. During his meeting with Minister Pun, he stressed the importance of promoting equity to ensure overall development. "Conventional wisdom that trying to reach the hardest to reach is too expensive, difficult and not cost effective has been proven otherwise by UNICEF modelling," said Mr. Lake. "In the poorest countries our study has shown that every dollar spent can save up to 60 per cent more lives when it is focussed on the most disadvantaged."
Minister Pun expressed his commitment to make the upcoming budget more equitable and inclusive. "We are trying our best to meet the unlimited demands in our country with limited resources," said the Minister. "Our Government is now shifting its direction in the upcoming budget to see how we can better address regional and social disparities by giving more priority to social protection and so that it becomes even more inclusive and equitable."
During his meeting with the officials from the NPC, the Executive Director stressed the importance of continuous and frequent monitoring to sharpen and track results.
On the second day of mission, Mr. Lake visited the Nepal Country Office to interact with staff and get a briefing on UNICEF interventions in the country. A group young people, who had travelled in from Achham to meet him, performed a drama they had written themselves to give a glimpse of difficulties that the children and women in Nepal face due to the prevailing discriminatory social norms and practices.
Hundreds of young people throughout the country got the opportunity to ask Mr Lake questions through UNICEF’s toll free SMS system. Hundreds of questions were sent in and Mr Lake answered several of them. His replies will be disseminated through radio programme Saathi Sanga Manka Kura next weekend and also through UNICEF's website. Responding to one of the questions on how children could influence the development of their country, Mr. Lake was unequivocal.
“Children can help develop their country by getting educated. The more investment made in getting children educated, particularly girls, the more their chances of becoming productive adults who will contribute even more to the well-being of their own children and families and to Nepal.”
In a packed agenda, Mr. Lake took the opportunity to visit UNICEF-supported community-based programmes to see the difficulties faced by children and women in urban and rural parts of the country. He met the children at one of the many UNICEF-supported Urban-Out-of-School programmes where working children have a chance to gain an education. He also met Child Club members, Community Organisations, Paralegal Committee (PLC) members and Female Community Health Volunteers in Kavre District. Commending the role that the PLC is playing to provide justice to the children and women in their communities he said, "Strong women are changing the world. Not only the women in public life or on the global stage, but women like you changing communities."
Mr. Lake was truly moved by the ground work that is being done at the community level. "While we offer various supplies and other items in our programmes, the most important result I have seen is when there is a change in behaviour - and change is most significant for progress when led by women," said Mr. Lake. "Our global priority is equity and what I have seen in Nepal is truly encouraging and I hope the efforts you are putting in here will happen also in other countries.”
For more information:
John Brittain, Chief, Communications, UNICEF Nepal, 9851054139, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rupa Joshi, Communication Specialist, UNICEF Nepal, 9851054140, email@example.com