MECYS & UNICEF the Netherlands sign MoU and plan for 2022

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Government of Sint Maarten and UNICEF the Netherlands stakeholders at the signing of the MOU with Drs. Rodolphe E. Samuel, Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (MECYS) and UNICEF the Netherlands, has been signed by the minister, Drs. Rodolphe E. Samuel, and Executive Director, Suzanne Laszlo. The signing was witnessed by Sasja Bökkerink, Programs and Public Affairs Director, (UNICEF NL). The MOU formalizes the parties’ long standing working relationship to improve the situation for children and youth on Sint Maarten. The Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (VSA), Omar Ottley, was also present to express his support.

The MoU also applies to the Child Resilience and Protection Project (CRPP) funded by the Government of the Netherlands through the Sint Maarten Trust Fund managed by the World Bank. The project, which is being executed by the Government of Sint Maarten with technical support from UNICEF the Netherlands, aims to strengthen the child protection system, and nurture children’s and adolescents’ wellbeing, and help support schools to be better equipped to respond to disasters.

“In 2021 our partnership with the Government of St. Maarten has already achieved several results, including a teachers’ training on psychosocial development, and a training on disaster risk management for the School Safety and Emergency Teams. Other results are the strengthening of the inter-ministerial Child Protection Working Group and the completion of an assessment of the child protection referral system, which lay the groundwork for our work planned for 2022,” shares Sasja Bökkerink, Programs and Public Affairs Director, UNICEF the Netherlands.

2021 Reflection
After the MoU signing on October 18, 2021, a multi-day planning session was organized to reflect on the CRPP activities done in 2021 and plan for implementation in 2022. The UNICEF NL team and key Government partners such as the Department of Youth, Student Support Services Division (SSSD), Court of Guardianship, Foundation Judicial Institutes St. Maarten (SJIS), and Community Development, Family and Humanitarian Affairs (CDFHA) participated.

Some of the planned activities for 2022 include positive parenting programme for professionals, the development of a programme to address violence prevention in schools, early childhood sector support, meaningful youth participation activities, design and implementation of a streamlined child protection referral system and information management, and continued activities to increase the emergency and disaster preparedness of education and youth-related departments.