UNICEF and Japan launch early learning and development programme to provide essential COVID-19 recovery services for young children in Papua, South Sulawesi and East Nusa Tenggara

18 July 2022
Kanasugi Kenji, Ambassador of Japan to Indonesia, plays with children in Papua

Jayapura, 18 July 2022 – The Government of Japan and UNICEF, in partnership with the Government of Indonesia, today launched a new initiative to help vulnerable young children recover from the severe impact of COVID-19, as they return to school in eastern Indonesia.

Through funding support from the Government of Japan of USD3.6million, UNICEF will implement the early learning and development programme, which will provide essential services for children ages five to eight in 200 Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres and 100 primary schools in the provinces of Papua, South Sulawesi and East Nusa Tenggara.

A range of integrated interventions will help children recover from lost learning and become ready for transition to primary school. Efforts will focus on improving access to quality education, essential water, sanitation and hygiene services, as well as critical health and protection services. Children will also learn about COVID-19 prevention.

Over the last two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in widespread disruption to education and essential services for children across Indonesia, affecting 530,000 schools and some 60 million students. All of the country’s 200,000 ECD centres were also closed for extended periods, affecting over four million young children.

“Japan’s priority is very clear: We want to support the most vulnerable people so that no one will be left behind. For these young children, the pandemic has posed serious threats -- depriving their education and health at a critical stage of their early development. We will help these children, who will build the future of Indonesia and the world, so that they can reimagine their future,” said Kanasugi Kenji, Ambassador of Japan to Indonesia.

“Through this important partnership with the Government of Japan, a significant difference will be made to the lives of young children who have lost critical learning and development opportunities due to the impact of the pandemic,” said UNICEF Acting Representative Robert Gass. “UNICEF is very proud to be working through this partnership to ensure children also benefit from early childhood learning and development environments that are COVID-19 safe, more protective and child friendly.”

Since the early days of the pandemic, the Government of Japan has been supporting UNICEF to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children’s education, health and well-being in Indonesia. This has included support for a Safe Return to Learning programme, which resulted in thousands of primary school children in remote and underserved communities safely resuming face-to-face learning.

Japan is also helping to strengthen the health system through the procurement of cold chain equipment. Jointly with UNICEF, Japan recently delivered 300 vaccine refrigerators to the Ministry of Health to support the storage and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines across the country.

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For more information, please contact:

UNICEF: Kinanti Pinta Karana, Email: kpkarana@unicef.org. Mobile: +62-815-880-5842

Embassy of Japan: Kazuhiko Shimizu, Email: kazuhiko.shimizu@mofa.go.jp. TEL: +62-812-1993-5326

Media contacts

Kinanti Pinta Karana
Communications Specialist
UNICEF Indonesia
Tel: +62 8158805842
Kazuhiko Shimizu
Embassy of Japan
Tel: +62-812-1993-5326


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