Supporting ECD Advocacy

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February 10, 2012 No. 6/12-G The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) supports Early Childhood Development Advocacy Initiatives The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has taken another step in its ongoing support of Early Childhood Development (ECD) initiatives in the Caribbean. CDB recently signed an agreement with the Caribbean Center for Development Administration (CARICAD) to provide a USD$64,603 grant to a Project entitled, ‘Advocacy of ECD Initiative' initiated by the Caribbean Child Support Initiative (CCSI). The CDB grant funds were allocated from the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) 6th Programme and will be used to finance the production and dissemination of the "Early Childhood Advocacy Toolkit", training materials and training of advocates of the local Youth and Community Advocacy Network (YouCAN) in Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. In addition, the funds will support the production and dissemination of the Toolkit and training materials in Belize and Jamaica. Successive BNTF Programmes have provided grants for gender-specific activities of the Roving Caregivers Programme (developed by CCSI) in St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The Bank is going beyond the provision of infrastructure and is supporting the enabling social environment to promote and sustain positive ECD, especially in conditions of poverty and vulnerability. In keeping with CDB's cross-cutting theme of gender equality, the Advocacy Toolkit will address issues of gender relations and contribute to strengthening the skills and self-confidence of young women and young men to improve the quality of their lives and increase advocacy for positive gender socialisation of girls and boys. BNTF 6 aims to strengthen partnerships and networks to improve programme delivery in this sector towards enhancing development outcomes. The provision of additional support to ECD initiatives, such as the Roving Caregivers, is aligned to the BNTF 6 outcome of networking for community development. The initiative will fulfill another objective of BNTF 6 of promoting and strengthening community organisations and their capacity to initiate and manage change. Strengthening of the local, community YouCAN networks in six of CDB's Borrowing Member Countries will provide the platform for the establishment of a regional network. The Project will strengthen the capacity of the local YouCAN networks to raise awareness at the community level for gender-sensitive ECD and family support services to socially vulnerable young children and families. Capacity building workshops using the advocacy training materials have already started in 4 OECS countries. Over 80 members from the 4 local YouCANs were trained in the areas of Building Relationships, Advocacy and the Media, Delivering Presentations and Speeches and Monitoring and Evaluation. They were trained as advocates to create greater awareness and visibility on ECD/Family and community support needs. Each local YouCAN will develop an Advocacy Action Plan which will start implementation of activities as of March 2012. The YouCAN, which was established by CCSI, is a network of advocates. The CCSI, which was managed by CARICAD from 2002 to 2011, has evolved into the recently launched Foundation for the Development of Caribbean Children (FDCC). The FDCC will be responsible for the implementation of the remaining activities commenced by the CCSI, includin facilitating the development of country specific Advocacy Action Plans, further capacity building workshops and the monitoring and evaluation of activities.

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