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DRC : Government of Japan grants US$6.68 million to support Child-Friendly Environment through Community Participation in Provinces of Equateur, Kasai Oriental and Kasai Occidental

KINSHASA, 29 April, 2010 – Under the patronage of His Excellency Mr. Maker MWANGU FWAMBA Minister for Primary and Secondary Education in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Government of Japan yesterday signed a new agreement with UNICEF to make available $6.68 million (¥601 million) to implement Education, Health, Water and Sanitation as well as Child Protection programmes in 3 provinces: Equateur, Kasai Oriental and Kasai Occidental.

In line with the UNICEF – DRC Programme of Cooperation, the funds will benefit thousands of children in the 3 designated provinces, using the partnership with national authorities to help children achieve their rights in respect of Education Health and Child Protection.

The funds have been earmarked for:

• The rehabilitation and construction of 18 primary schools and remedial centres, 18 early community childhood centres, as well as 6 Information and Education centres for adolescents and young people.  It will also go to strengthen the capacity of the early childhood supervisors, teachers, peer educators as well as parents in order to enhance their participation in formal and non formal education;
• The rehabilitation of 50 health centres, and training for community health agents as a way of improving service delivery;
• The provision of integrated water, hygiene and sanitation interventions in 20 village communities to reduce environmental health risks for children and other members of the community;
• Capacity building of 2,000 children formerly associated with armed groups and 5,000 orphans and vulnerable children; providing educational support and assistance to those who wish to return to school, and protecting those in difficult circumstances;
• The organisation of communication activities to foster ownership and community promotion of essential family practices; as well as the establishment of mechanisms to ensure community participation in the planning, management and monitoring of sustainable interventions to be undertaken as part of the project.

On the occasion of the TICAD IV, 4th Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Japan in May 2008, Japanese government declared the initiative to double its Official Development Assistance for Africa. His Excellency Kanji KITAZAWA, Ambassador of Japan to D.R. Congo recalled the increase of Japanese finance for the DRC since the launching of this initiative whose amount comes to US$130 million, "working in close collaboration with the Congolese government. In support of the DRC reconstruction efforts, Japan hopes to see all parts of the country develop at an equal pace. It is in this vein that Japan decided to assist the provinces in the central part of the country this time, and to contribute to improving their conditions of life and a sustainable development."

Referring to what he termed a “new era of Congo-Japan cooperation” Mr. Eiro YONEZAKI, Resident Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in D.R.Congo, reminded the audience of “the link between this project intended to support a child-friendly environment through community participation, and the other activities implemented as Japanese cooperation which cover health, nutrition, water, community development and support to the youth.”

Acknowledging the substantial contributions to programmes in DRC, the UNICEF Representative Pierrette VU THI commended the exemplary commitment of the Government of Japan to the cause of children in the DRC and the regular support Japan provides to improve the conditions and quality of lives for Congolese women and children around the country.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

For more information, please contact :

Joyce Brandful, UNICEF DRC, + 243 81 8846746 jbrandful@unicef.org,
Yuki Hirotani, Japanese Embassy in DRC, +243 81 514 6605 yuki.hirotani@mofa.go.jp
Kazunao Shibata, JICA D.R.Congo Office, +243 81 556 3530 Shibata.Kazunao@jica.go.jp




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