|© UNICEF Brazil/2010/Rocha|
|Senior government representatives from Nepal with students at a public school in the Morro do Borel community in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The school is part of the Platform for Urban Centres project developed by UNICEF and partners.|
By Leticia Sobreira
BRASILIA, Brazil, 28 July 2010 – Senior representatives of the Government of Nepal visited Brazil recently to learn about initiatives developed by UNICEF and its partners here. The visit was an example of cooperation between developing countries, in which they share knowledge, experiences and best practices on various aspects of development.
The delegation consisted of seven government secretaries and an officer from UNICEF Nepal. From 28 June through 2 July, they visited UNICEF-supported projects and met with community leaders, representatives of non-governmental organizations, and state and municipal government officials in Rio de Janeiro and Salvador, as well as federal government officials in the capital, Brasília.
The visitors from Nepal went to Rio de Janeiro to learn about the Platform for Urban Centres, or PCU, an initiative launched by UNICEF Brazil and partners. The project aims to mobilize government and society in support of the rights of children and adolescents living in ‘comunidades populares’ – the informal urban settlements that are also known as ‘favelas’.
On the first day of the visit, Luciana Phebo, from the UNICEF Zone Office in Rio de Janeiro, and Katia Edmundo, from Centro de Promoção da Saúde (the Centre for Health Promotion, or CEDAPS), briefed the delegation on the connection between PCU and the Child Friendly Cities Initiative, which aims to make cities more livable places for everyone – especially boys and girls.
|From left: Bahia State Secretary of Regional Integration Edmon Lucas, Nepal Government Secretary of Local Development Shyam Mainali, Valente municipality Mayor Ubaldino de Oliveira and the coordinator UNICEF's office in Salvador, Ruy Pavan, during a meeting in Brazil.|
The next day, the delegation visited a family health programme and an integrated public education centre in Borel, a community in the northern zone of Rio de Janeiro, to learn more about the reality of the favelas and the crucial role of local youth leadership in the PCU project. Young people in Borel attended a community forum, offering their opinions on various subjects.
“What we said was really taken into account," said one participant, Mayara do Nascimento, 10.
On their last stop in Rio de Janeiro, the delegation visited the Observatório de Favelas (Favela Observatory) in the community of Maré. This NGO aims to place favelas at the centre of media production and culture in Brazil.
The delegates also learned about a UNICEF-supported programme for the reduction of violence against adolescents.
“It was very interesting to see how the Brazilian Government and the NGOs work together to guarantee the rights of the children and adolescents of Brazil,” said Nepal’s Secretary of Local Development, Shyam Mainali.
On 30 June, the delegation visited the UNICEF office in Salvador, the capital of Bahia State. There they learned about the UNICEF Municipal Seal of Approval – an initiative aimed at strengthening public policies and improving the quality of life for the children and adolescents of the country’s semi-arid region and the Brazilian Amazon.
Later, in Pelourinho, the historical centre of Salvador, the delegation met with young people active in the NGO Cipó Comunicação Interativa, where communication technology is used to promote children’s rights and community development.
Exchange of experiences
On 2 July, the delegates from Nepal concluded their visit in Brasilia. They were received by Rômulo Paes de Sousa, Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Social Development, who was then Acting Minister, in an exchange of experiences between the two countries concerning the subject of resource transfer.
Also in Brasília, the delegation visited the National Congress of Brazil. They met with UNICEF partners in the Chamber of Deputies to learn about child and adolescent participation in environmental education initiatives, with a focus on climate change in Brazilian public schools.
Representatives of the Chamber of Deputies described examples of youth participation in the legislative process. The visiting delegation was impressed to see that bills written by young Brazilians can become law.
All these efforts and others witnessed by the visitors from Nepal were directed towards one ultimate goal: to improve the quality children’s lives.
Andréia Neri and Adriana Egito also contributed to this story.
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