Philipsburg – Early this week, the Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, the Honourable Wycliffe Smith met with UNICEF Netherlands regarding the progress of the Situation Analysis (SitAn) into the rights of children on Sint Maarten.
The SitAn is examining how vulnerability levels have changed among children and adolescents in the aftermath of the 2017 hurricanes and how social protection systems have responded to these changes. The study will also analyze progress and remaining or new bottlenecks since the last study by UNICEF on the rights of children on St. Maarten published in 2013. In addition, the SitAn will recommend actions that should be taken to improve the rights of children on the island.
In the coming weeks, UNICEF expert Paulette Nichols, will be conducting interviews with professionals working in health, social, and protection services, statistics, law enforcement, education, environmental protection, churches, sports clubs, employment agencies, non-profit foundations and other organizations with duties linked to safeguarding children’s rights.
There will also be focus group discussions held with adolescents, young adults, (single) parents, caregivers, educators and others who can give valuable input towards the study. The interviews and focus group discussions, along with available statistics, relevant reports and policy documents will form the basis of the analysis.
“This study will be extremely valuable in providing an evidence-based picture of the situation of children on St. Maarten. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport is committed to its execution and I look forward to the findings and actionable recommendations,” Minister Smith commented at the end of the meeting.
Supporting the process is the SitAn committee, which includes representatives from the youth, education, social development and health, child protection, and statistics departments within government and several civil society organizations.
“This SitAn is unique as we will also be including an implementation and monitoring plan that is linked to our recommendations. In this way, we can measure any progress following the publication of the 2019 SitAn” explains Nichols.
The SitAn on Sint Maarten will be published in July 2019 and is funded by the Netherlands Red Cross. SitAns are also being conducted on Bonaire, St. Eustatius, and Saba within the same time frame and funded by the Dutch Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations.