Young children get boost

Early Childhood Development officials and government and diplomatic representatives attended the ECD ceremony at Delap Elementary School last Friday. Photo: Eve Burns.

EVE BURNS

Hundreds of people turned out for the launch of the new policy for Early Childhood Development (ECD) called Nurturing our Children to Flourish (Inonoki bwe en Didbōlbōl) last week at Delap Elementary School.

The Ceremony was led by Miss Marshall Islands Claret Chong Gum. Pastor Jeledrik Binejal gave the invocation. Students from Laura and Rita Elementary School preformed special dances in the spirit of the day.

Secretaries and other heads of government ministries, departments and agencies and members of the ECD Steering Committee along side schools from all over Majuro witnessed the launch.

It was announced at the ceremony that Long Island Elementary School will be the next to host next year’s Early Childhood Week.

Cromwell Bacareza, who heads UNICEF’s North Pacific Office, thanked the World Bank and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for generous financial support to the development of Marshall Islands’ ECD policy.

He said that he was very proud to say that UNICEF is incredibly fortunate to have been working together with so many excellent partners in the Marshall Islands — from the government to the grassroots level.

“I extend my hearty congratulations to the government of the Marshall Islands for being one of the few countries in the Pacific region that have developed a multi-sectoral policy framework for ECD, championing a whole-of-government approach that is truly trailblazing,” said Cromwell. “This is also one of the few ECD policies in the world that has a clear climate change focus – elevating ECD as a cornerstone of the Marshall Islands’ resilience-building efforts. In fact, the government of the Marshall Islands is leading the Pacific advocacy work to elevate ECD and climate change in the global discourse and UNICEF stands ready to continue to support those efforts. Moments like these continue to act as a strong reminder and provide new opportunities to demonstrate the country’s commitment to children’s rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Cromwell added, in reference to the zero to five age bracket on which the ECD program is focused: “We cannot build a more sustainable future without investing in those who will carry that future forward.”

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