Advocacy, Public Policy and Partnerships

Advocacy, Public Policy and Partnerships


Social Investment for Children Initiative


The Social Investment for Children Initiative was officially launched on 29 March 2006 by the Hon. Donald Rhodd, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education and Chairman of the Human and Social Development Committee of Parliament. 

The Initiative which is being supported by UNICEF, UNDP, the Cabinet Office, the Planning Institute of  Jamaica, the Child Development Agency, the Office of the Children's Advocate and the Jamaica Coalition on the Rights of the Child aims to build national capacity to ensure that social investment is consistent with agreed national priorities for children. 

The basis for the formation of the Initiative was an analysis of "Fiscal Expenditures on Services for Children in Jamaica 2003-2006" undertaken by Dr. Michael Witter, Head of the Department of  Economics, University of the West Indies.


On 14 April 2008, the Social Investment for Children Initiative launched its first report, "A Review of Economic and Social Investments for Jamaican Children", which found that total expenditure on children in the Jamaican budget has not increased significantly over the last five years.

The report indicates that Jamaica has maintained relatively high levels of recurrent expenditure on social services - despite slow economic growth and a massive debt burden - but need to focus more on ensuring that resources for children are adequately allocated and efficiently spent.

The report analyzes expenditure on services and programmes for children for the fiscal period 2003/04 (actual), 2004/05 (revised) and 2005/06 (approved), conducted by Dr. Michael Witter, former Professor of Economics at UWI. The SICI group supplemented these findings with an analysis of the 2005/06 (actual), 2006/07 (revised) and 2007/08 (approved) fiscal years.

Recommendations of the Social Investment for Children Initiative Working Group

  • Recommitting to a First Call for Children: Finalize the National Framework of Action for Children, the policy framework that should guide social investment for children, and establish clear targets against which to better assess needed investment.
  • Tracking Resources and Results for Children: Use the Framework of Action as a primary tool to review progress, assess the impact of interventions and monitor the allocation of resources to children.
  • Reaping the Benefits of Public Sector Reform: Ensure that ongoing public sector reform focuses on ensuring quality education outcomes, including more effective planning and delivery of services for children.
  • Promoting Equity and Increased Social Returns through Intra-budgetary Allocations: Undertake intra-budgetary reallocations, focusing on investments with the greatest potential for promoting equity, reducing poverty and increasing social returns.
  • Identifying Additional Resources for Children: Identify additional resources for children, including incentives and opportunities for the private sector to devote more resources to social investment.
  • Optimizing the Limited International Development Assistance: Optimize the limited international development assistance given to Jamaica, including a prioritization of bilateral aid for priority social areas.
  • Supporting Research to Inform Policy Development: Use research and data to better inform the development of policy and resource allocation.


Investing in Children and Adolescents - Arguments and Approaches for Advocacy

In order to bring about effective change, the rights of children and adolescents must be placed at the centre of public policy, and particularly budgetary policy. The volume and use of public resources assigned to ensuring compliance with the rights of children and adolescents are crucial indicators of the priority that states grant to these rights.









Click on pdf to read economist Michael Witter's report "Fiscal Expenditure on Services for Children in Jamaica, 2003/4-2005/6".

(PDF documents require Acrobat Reader to view.)

Social Investment for Children - Concept Paper and Plan of Action

[PDF] [Word]
(PDF documents require Acrobat Reader to view.)

Childhood Concerns - The View not Always Heard


 Email this article

unite for children