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Children Speak Out On School Drop-Outs, Child Abuse at Child Research Conference

© 2009/Warren Hutchinson
Nada Marasovic, Deputy Representative of UNICEF, awards Chantel Smith of Dunoon Technical High School with her award for Outstanding Child Researcher 2009

KINGSTON, 22 October 2009 – For the first time in the four-year history of the Caribbean Child Research Conference, only children took the podium at the one-day confab on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, presenting their research on a wide range of issues affecting children.

The Honourable Prime Minister Bruce Golding delivered the keynote address at the conference, held under the theme Global Crises: The Impacts on Our Children – Twenty Years After the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Over 100 students from across Jamaica participated in the conference. Ten researchers under the age of 18 presented their studies on issues affecting children, including child abuse, abortion, the impact of dancehall music and teenagers’ relationship with religion. In keeping with tradition, an award went to the most outstanding child researcher. This year, Chantel Smith from Dunoon Technical High School copped the prize for her research on the effects of migration on the behaviour of students.

Child researchers werefeatured exclusively this year to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the CRC, the first legally binding international convention to affirm human rights for children. Adopted in 1989, the Convention is now ratified by 193 parties, obligating nations the world over to protect and fulfill the rights of all children.  

The event will also be used to launch a report on Child Poverty and Disparities in Jamaica, a study led by Dr. Michael Witter, Senior Lecturer, Department of Economics, the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona. The study was commissioned by UNICEF as part of a global effort to uncover the multi-dimensional effects of poverty on children across the world.

Each year, the multi-disciplinary conference aims to share the most current research on children, strengthen the network of researchers on children’s issues, and encourage new research in areas that are often under-researched.

The  2009 conference was staged by the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES), UWI Mona, in association with the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Child Development Agency (CDA), Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA), Early Childhood Commission (ECC), Caribbean Child Development Centre (CCDC), Jamaica Coalition on the Rights of the Child (JCRC), and the Office of the Children’s Registry. The Conference is supported by UNICEF and the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ).



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