UNICEF and VSA New Zealand partners to promote early childhood education for Timorese children

20 March 2019
UNICEF VSA signing
@UNICEF Timor-Leste/2019/Monemnasi

WELLINGTON/DILI 19 March 2019: UNICEF and Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA) signed documents accepting VSA volunteers to Timor-Leste. Valerie Taton, UNICEF Representative, handed over the documents to Victoria Gregory, Programme Manager, VSA Timor-Leste, in the presence of Vicki Poole, New Zealand Ambassador to Timor-Leste. Under this agreement, the VSA volunteers will provide mentorship support to various community preschools supported by UNICEF Timor-Leste and the New Zealand Aid Programme. 

This agreement is part of a new partnership signed between UNICEF and VSA at the global level that will allow New Zealand volunteers to work in UNICEF country offices throughout the Pacific and Timor-Leste.

The first of these projects is in Timor-Leste, where UNICEF and VSA have jointly worked on a community preschools initiative, and two volunteers will shortly travel to work alongside the Alola Foundation to build capacity among Early Childhood Education providers and teachers. 

“UNICEF is excited to have this partnership with VSA New Zealand at the global level, and for Timor-Leste in particular. The agreement will allow the deployment of experienced VSA volunteers to strengthen UNICEF’s community preschools initiative. The VSA volunteers will play an important role in strengthening capacities of our partners providing community-based early learning opportunities, contributing to the realisation of the government’s goal of expanding preschool education,” said Valérie Taton.

“We thank MFAT for playing an instrumental role to materialise this partnership between VSA and UNICEF and its continued commitment to the pre-school education in Timor-Leste.  This agreement will pave the way for further partnerships between VSA and other UNICEF country offices.”

Ambassador Vicki Poole noted how impressive the partnership was, saying “it’s important to keep thinking about new ways of working and making change. This agreement will benefit many in the Pacific and Timor-Leste, through VSA and UNICEF.”

Victoria Gregory thanked UNICEF for co-developing the project, which has allowed VSA to expand its programme, “and gives us the opportunity to support preschool children in Timor-Leste, because there is great need here.”

The first two volunteers will travel to Timor-Leste in late March.

About VSA:

VSA is New Zealand’s largest and most experienced volunteer agency working in international development. We send skilled people to work alongside communities in the Pacific and beyond to achieve what is important to them
About UNICEF: 
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

Contact details:

Sarah Barnett, Senior Communications Adviser, VSA: sbarnett@vsa.org.nz

Arifa Salam Sharmin, Communication Specialist, UNICEF: assharmin@unicef.org, 
Antonio Gomes, Communication Officer, UNICEF Timor-Leste (Tetum queries)
Phone: +670-7723 2441 Email: angomez@unicef.org


Media contacts

Rukshan Ratnam
Communication Specialist (English)
UNICEF Timor-Leste
Tel: +67077231103
Tel: +670 331 1300, Extension: 1820
Antonio Gomes
Communication Officer (Tetum)
UNICEF Timor-Leste
Tel: +670 7723 2441
Tel: +670 331 1300, Extension: 1821


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.

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