The town of San Pedro is certified as a child-friendly municipality

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June 24, 2021

The town of San Pedro is certified as a child-friendly municipality

In 2014, the Association of Mayors of Belize, in collaboration with the Ministry of Labor, Local Government and Rural Development, and the National Committee for Families and Children signed the Child-Friendly Municipalities Initiative, s’ committing to develop their cities to become certified as child friendly. Until today, three had been certified at the silver level and now San Pedro Town has joined the peloton. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

Duane Moody, Report

After years of working to establish an advisory council for children on the island, among other specific goals to incorporate child-friendly spaces in the city, San Pedro has today officially achieved silver status in as a child-friendly municipality.

Gualberto “Wally” Nunez

Gualberto “Wally” Nunez, Mayor of the City of San Pedro

“It means a lot to us because we value our children here on the island. They are important to us; they are our future and we must also give them their rights and make their voices heard. One of the most important things is that every time we make decisions based on everything we do, if we’re going to play sports, if we’re going to involve them in community projects, it’s to get them involved. . There are groups of young people who are ready to work – to paint, to help with the cleaning. These are the things we need to start involving kids so that they can later become great leaders. “

The creation of sustainable and child-friendly municipalities is an initiative primarily funded by UNICEF Belize and aims to benefit the entire community, especially children and their rights to play and recreation in safe spaces. UNICEF Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist Paulette Wade talks about the goals set at each stage, eventually reaching platinum.

Paulette Wade

Paulette Wade, Focal Point, Sustainable and Child Friendly Initiative, UNICEF

“It takes money and more to receive a billboard. This certification lasts for two years, so in the next two years again, the municipalities will be assessed, so if they don’t get the money, then it goes down. If he goes higher, they get another billboard – gold and at most, platinum. The reason you receive a silver medal is because you have the basic structures in place. You have a unit within the board, someone who sits on the board, an advisor who will deposit SCFM at board meetings. You will have a coordinator who will coordinate what is happening on the ground. You will also have a technical steering committee made up of ministries, the private sector, NGOs, anyone in your municipality who works on the children’s agenda.

A national steering committee made up of the Ministry of Labor, Local Government and Rural Development, the Association of Mayors of Belize, the National Committee for Families and Children and UNICEF oversees the implementation of the initiative. Minister Oscar Requeña said his ministry was committed to helping the nine municipalities achieve this child-friendly status. So far only four, including San Pedro, have done so and it is a step in the right direction.

Oscar Requeña

Oscar Requeña, Minister of Rural Transformation, Community Development, Labor and Local Government

“Municipalities, governments, the community must make sure that we do everything to promote the rights of our children. Each community, each municipality must ensure that it creates this space to allow our children to have a voice to be able to express themselves. It is very important that governments and municipal agencies, the community, look at development from a child’s perspective, from a children’s perspective.

Duane Moody for News Five.

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