UNICEF start distributing Early Childhood Development kits with didactic materials for 5,000 families
ECD for every child.
Prishtina, 10th of September 2020 – Communicating with and engaging parents, caregivers and children with evidence-based information and advice is essential especially during covid19 pandemic. In times of shock, services to support to young children end up being overlooked. Already scarce resources will likely be diverted to the pandemic response. Today, we are initiating distribution of 5,000 pre-school education kits to families in need.
These didactic materials are dedicated to children of ages 0-6 years old in most vulnerable families. 73% of these kits will be distributed to families in the Social Assistance Scheme whereas 23% will reach to Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities. All materials in the kits will support families and children to implement daily developmental activities which are provided in the Distance Education platform (https://edukimihershem.rks-gov.net/), established by Ministry of Education in cooperation with UNICEF and partners.
Alongside the didactic materials, the professional mountain climber Uta Ibrahimi is also distributing her color book “Uta e maleve” as part of the ECD project “URRA” supported by UNICEF.
The Minister of Education, Mr. Rame Likaj said that through this support, children that are mostly in need will be reached and provided with education materials to reach their full potential, but also parents will be supported to engage with them using online ECD platform launched by Ministry of Education with support from UNICEF. “We are giving examples that every child can be a Uta Ibrahimi or Rita Ora, if we work hard to make their dreams come true’, he said.
Uta herself expressed her willingness to support children in need and visit them to encourage them through her stories to reach out to dreams and work hard to achieve them. “I want to show them that everything is possible if they work to make it possible”, she said.
Prior to COVID-19, Kosovo had the lowest access to preschool education in Europe, with only 14 percent of children aged 3-5 years attending an early childhood education program, leaving a large portion of children of this age deprived of early learning programmes. More than half of children under the age of 5 in Kosovo, have no children’s books at home, and only 42 per cent of mothers and 6 per cent of fathers engage in any learning activities with children at home. In addition, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted education processes, severely hindering development and learning opportunities for children.
Mr. Mitsunori Ogasawara, Charge d’ Affaires ad interim Counsellor, Japan Embassy in Kosovo said that “Education is very important, especially during this time when both, parents and children, are staying mostly indoor because of the pandemic”. “The role of the family is increasing, and these materials will help parents to have a more positive and educational approach towards their children, play with them and have a more joyful and happy time together. We are very thankful for the collaboration with UNICEF and the public institutions, and I can’t wait to visit the families that will benefit from these packages”, Mr. Mitsunori said.
While the director of the Social Policies in the Ministry of Social Welfare, Mr. Mentor Morina said that the “Ministry of Social Welfare has an excellent collaboration with UNICEF when it comes to protect and support marginalized groups. “The help that UNICEF is providing is crucial for us in order to reach and include every child in need and ensure education and wellbeing”, he said.
UNICEF in Kosovo is committed to contribute in supporting families, especially those in need, to provide the best for children in their early years of life.
UNICEF’s Head of Office in Kosovo, Murat Sahin said: “With UNICEF support, parents, especially fathers, are being provided the simple tips, games and skills to use on better parenting. Parental engagement through storytelling, singing and playing with the child - all critical for a child’s brain development- is critical especially during covid19. I am proud to see over 190.000 unique users visiting the online ECD platform over 2.5 million times since its launch”.
UNICEF reiterates the urgent need to prioritize investments in Early Childhood Development including focus on parenting within the COVID-19 response. This is critical to minimize preventable child deaths, to prevent violence against children, and to drive economic recovery and productivity in the longer term. We thank generous support of the Government of Luxemburg and the Government of Japan in supporting our covid19 response in Kosovo.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.