The United Nations Children Emergency Fund, UNICEF spent some time in Dominica conducting a situational analysis on the island in July.
On Thursday November 12th, in a presentation to stakeholders, consultant, Paulette Nichols presented the findings.
Those stakeholders included health workers, parents, village councillors, out of school children, government officials, educators and civil society groups.
The objectives of the analysis were to help UNICEF with its strategic planning, raise awareness of the situation of children in Dominica and help governments to focus on improving ht lives of children.
Dominica is one of 12 regional countries being assessed.
“Today’s workshop is of great importance to our society. Your presence here today is an indication of your interest and concern for our children and your contribution to the discussions, plenary sessions and setting out of key priorities for children in Dominica is paramount to this achievement,” said Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Social Services, Sylvanie Burton to stakeholders.
The 31 page draft document coming out of the assessment reveals that 41.9% cent of the island’s population is under the age of 24.
It also indicates that children perceived as vulnerable in Dominica are largely those living with disabilities, those living in poor female-headed households, Kalinago children, migrant children and those in conflict with the law.
Government’s considerable expenditure on social programmes for protection and support to vulnerable children, women and the elderly is also part of that report
Data related to early childhood development, TVET and tertiary education, infant and child mortality, nutrition and disease are among the indicators of the status of children in Dominica.
Muriel Mafico is Deputy Representative of the UNICEF office based in Barbados. “What are we going to do to reach those who are not yet in school, those who are not yet accessing early childhood education before they start Grade One? What are we going to do about the unreached? That is really the agenda for us going forward. When we look at the Sustainable Development Goals..., that is the key message: leave no one behind,” she proposed. “It may not be easy to reach the remaining few but it has to be done.