Sweden to support UNICEF in protection and education of Sidr-affected children
© UNICEF Dhaka, SH Chowdhury, 11 Dec., 2007
Ms. Britt F. Hagström, Swedish Ambassador of the Embassy of Sweden and Mr. Louis-Georges Arsenault, UNICEF Representative, exchange signed documents of agreement.
DHAKA, December 11, 2007: Sweden has made a contribution of 24.3 million Swedish Kronor (approximately US$ 3.5 million) to UNICEF through the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (Sida) to assist the child survivors of November 15 cyclone Sidr. An agreement to this effect was signed Tuesday between Ambassador of Sweden Britt F. Hagström and UNICEF Bangladesh Representative Louis-Georges Arsenault at the Swedish Embassy in Dhaka.
The joint agreement will support UNICEF’s post-cyclone response in education and child protection in nine Sidr-ravaged districts i.e., Bagerhat, Barguna, Patuakhali, Pirojpur, Barisal, Bhola, Jhalokhati, Satkhira, and Khulna.
“We are pleased to make this contribution as a part of our larger emergency and relief support to survivors of the Cyclone Sidr for improving the living conditions of the poor who are hard hit by the calamity. Improving the lives of women and children is among the priority objectives of the Swedish development cooperation,” said Swedish Ambassador Britt F. Hagström.
UNICEF Representative Mr. Louis-Georges Arsenault said: “This project intervention will help strengthen UNICEF’s ongoing efforts to restore cyclone affected children’s right to quality education and ensure a protective environment to the children through provision of psychosocial support, as well as identification and reunification of separated children.”
The interventions of Child Protection will target to reach 20,000 children, (at least a half of them are girls) in Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) and separated and accompanied children in above nine districts.
Meanwhile, the Education initiative aims to reach over 700,000 children of primary and pre-primary school age children in worst-affected nine districts of where schooling is severely disrupted as a result of the crippling impact of the cyclone.
In addition, both initiatives will target teachers, head teachers, volunteers, and school management committees for various interventions including training, mobilization and capacity building. Parents and communities of the targeted children will indirectly benefit from the initiative.
Among the 8.5 million people affected by Sidr, approximately half are children and an estimated half-a-million of them are under the age of five. Initial assessments of the affected areas show the crucial need for protection support especially for children. Many children have lost their homes and are now displaced, creating in them a sense of insecurity. Some may also have lost family members and friends. Schools and health centers have been heavily damaged and destroyed and there is a strong need for protective environments.
During emergencies, traditional care arrangements are not functional due to the breakdown of family and social structures. This leads to serious child protection concerns as children become more vulnerable. Key elements to promote the recovery of children, therefore, not only involve meeting basic needs but also building their resilience. This entails the ability to overcome adversity and difficult life challenges and to continue with normal growth and development.
For more information, please contact:
Zafrin J Chowdhury
Sr. Communication Officer
Communication and Information Section
BSL Complex, 1 Minto Rd, Dhaka - 1000
880 2 9336701-10 Ex. 397
Embassy of Sweden:
Embassy of Sweden
Gulshan, Dhaka -1212
880 2 8833144-7