By Hope Igbaruma
UNICEF and WFP are committed to help authorities achieve the objectives of ensuring that all Haitian children receive good quality, free education and a daily meal in school.
UNICEF promotes the right to education for all children in Haiti in accordance to the1987 constitution and the Children’s Right Convention ratified by Haiti in 1994. According to to UNICEF Representative in Haiti, Françoise Gruloos-Ackermans “education is fundamental for the development of children, families, communities and the future of Haiti’s reconstruction”.
To reach this goal, UNICEF is working jointly with the political instances of the country to build an education system that is free and universal and has built 200 schools throughout the country and also prioritized work on buildings destroyed by the earthquake or communities without proper infrastructure in the most vulnerable areas.
WFP has doubled the number of children enrolled in its school meal program to better answer the needs of school children and their families in the aftermath of the earthquake. “A year and a half after the earthquake, a national survey has revealed that close to half of the Haitian population is struggling with food insecurity”, said Myrta Kaulard, WFP Representative in Haiti. “The school meal program is an essential tool to solve this problem while helping school children learn better and grow up healthy”, she added.
Increasing the quantity of food produced in Haiti and used in school meal has been a priority for WFP in Haiti since 2008 and with UNICEF provide services to the most vulnerable area in the country’s public, communal and parochial schools.
To allow children living in remote areas to have access to education, Unicef has initiated discussions with authorities to support the opening of schools in sub communal sections that have no public schools or no schools at all. UNICEF is well aware that access to education is also includes developing a well-managed school network that offers quality teaching to students. The agency s supporting teacher’s training and the strengthening of basic academic training especially during the first year of schooling.
At the beginning of he 2011-2012 school year, Unicef and the United Nations World Food Programme(WFP) are renewing their commitment to support the country’s efforts in the field of education and has started the distribution of school kits to 750,000 children and 15,000 teachers in the country. In total 2,500 schools will be supported by Unicef, which is injecting to close to $10 million in this operation.
This year, the National School Meals Program(PNCS), WFP and their partners will provide hot meals daily to 1.9 million children of which 1.1 million are provided by WFP. “school canteens are a simple and efficient way to ensure that children will receive at least one nutritious meal everyday and to encourage them to attend school,” said Patricia Domimque.J.Martin, the coordinator of the PNCS