The Dutch Government has made US $240,000 available to appoint a policy coordinator for children’s rights and domestic violence for Saba who will execute the Children’s Rights Action Plan on the island.
Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk stated this in a letter to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Friday. Funds have been reserved for the Children’s Action Plan in St. Eustatius, but the projects still have to be initiated.
The Saba Action Plan includes various activities: a better tuning between the partners in the youth care system, the mapping of bottlenecks in the youth care system, the launching of awareness campaigns, and the setting up of a training programme for youth workers.
Plasterk explained that children of poor families are this year’s focus of the Saba’s Public Assistance Fund, a fund that aims to tackle the backlog maintenance of dwellings of which the owners can’t afford the costs.
Several trainings have been organised for youth workers on the island with the objective to teach them how to signal problems that children are confronting at home through observation of the children’s behaviour. The trajectory has started to strengthen the children’s day care: the staff has had training and the building is being renovated.
Funds have been reserved for the Children’s Rights Action Plan in St. Eustatius, despite the fact that the Multi-Annual Plan has not been signed as yet due to the financial and governmental supervision imposed in June this year.
Plasterk promised that, together with National Government Representative Gilbert Isabella, he would ensure that projects of the Action Plan will be implemented as soon as possible, in consultation with the United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF. The Dutch and Statia Governments are conferring to sign the Multi-Annual Plan soon in order to give content to the improving of children’s rights on the island.
An amount of US $749,000 has been made available for Bonaire for 2016. Together with UNICEF, the Ministries of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK and Public Health, Wellbeing and Sports VWS will start executing a number of activities on the island.
The activities in Bonaire include: the implementation of a central data registry system, the setting up of a General Social Work Department, the developing of a pedagogic vision and related training programm, the (further) implementation of the broad school concept with emphasis on after-school activities at school and the strengthening of day care.
There is more attention for the active involvement of children themselves in the local children’s rights policy, stated Plasterk. He gave the Mega D after-school activity in St. Eustatius as an example. Children at Mega D can participate in debate training where they can share their view on developments on their island.
Another example is the Sister Talk initiative in St. Eustatius and Saba where young girls discussed issues such as sexuality and the future with Mrs. Turner of American Idol. This initiative received the support of the National Government Representative.
Plasterk stated that he agreed with the Second Chamber that the participation of children was an important aspect of children’s rights. He promised to take up the issue in talks with the island governments.
The National Government Representative has already spoken with children on the islands and he has committed, on Plasterk’s request, to again have talks with children about policy subjects that affect them. The concept of setting up a Children’s Council is being worked on as well.
The Minister further announced that the second edition of the Kingdom Youth Parliament (KYP) will take place in Aruba in October 2016. This edition, which is a follow-up to the fi rst KYP which took place in St. Maarten in May 2014, will be completely dedicated towards children’s rights.
The Daily Herald.