“Yet each year, millions of newborns miss out on the benefits of early breastfeeding and the reasons – all too often – are things we can change,” according to United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore. “Mothers simply don’t receive enough support to breastfeed within those crucial minutes after birth, even from medical personnel at health facilities.”
The World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated from August 1 to 7.—AAC
UNICEF on Saturday (May 25) has given out 50 portable and digital classroom packages for select schools in Samar and Northern Samar to help improve student learning in multi-grade classes.
In a press release, UNICEF explained that “multigrade classes are inclusive systems wherein children with different developmental levels, abilities and needs mix and learn together in one classroom under the guidance of one teacher.”
The UN’s children’s agency said that it has partnered with the Department of Education (DepEd), PLDT-Smart, and SEAMEO-Innotech in launching the program.
“Each school-in-a-bag package handed over today equips classes with a projector, one teacher laptop and tablet in one, five student tablets, DVD player, USB memory drive, and pocket wifi with starter load,” the statement added.
It said that around 2,500 disadvantaged school children will benefit from the project.
“Today’s turnover of school-in-a-bag packages aims to bring 21st-century learning to all children, particularly for learners from isolated and indigenous poor communities. This is part of our long-standing commitment that every Filipino child realizes their right to quality education,” UNICEF Representative a.i. Julia Rees said in the agency’s statement sent to media.
She added that the agency looks forward “to replicating the project in other parts of the country where it is needed most.”
As the project’s technology partner, PLDT-Smart developed a learning app in Waray and Ibakon languages, and packaged customized, relevant e-learning resources for tablets and laptops.
The development of this app is based on the review and feedback from multigrade teachers and implementers who completed the training on Contextualization of Multigrade Teach-Learn Material in Region 8 in February 2018.
As an implementing partner, SEAMEO-Innotech, on the other hand, has been helping improve access to quality learning by coordinating and organizing activities with the DepEd.
UNICEF’s statement added that the lack of schools, teacher absenteeism, run-down facilities and the lack of inclusive learning set-up for children from indigenous communities or for children with disability are some of the reasons why about 2.8 million school-aged Filipino children are not in school or enrolled in alternative learning options.
Samar and Northern Samar are among UNICEF’s geographical priority areas where some of the most disadvantaged children are. Priority areas also include Western Samar, Zamboanga del Norte, and the five provinces in BARMM, namely, Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi. /mbmf
MANILA, Philippines — The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has noted that online child abuse is the top cybercrime in the Philippines.
According to UNICEF Country Representative Julia Rees, the massive presence of Filipino children online makes them “vulnerable to online sexual abuse and exploitation.”
UNICEF argued that such crimes are made possible with new technologies, such as live streaming which puts more Filipino children at risk.
The National Baseline Survey on Violence Against Children shows cyber violence is affecting one in two Filipino children aged 13 to 17.
“One in three internet users is a child,” Rees said.
“While the government has been trying to respond to the demand, breadth, scope and agility of the technology-not to mention the extreme accessibility of digital platforms – there must be more that we can do together to protect our children,” she added.
To help protect Filipino children from online abuse, the Australian Embassy in Manila pledged to provide P298 million over the next six years to fund the SaferKidsPH program which aims at reducing online sexual exploitation in the country.
Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven Robinson said, “Addressing online sexual exploitation and abuse of children is a global concern.”
Through the SaferKidsPH project, the Australian government reinforces its commitment to support the Philippine government in its efforts to address cyber abuse and violence which he considers a “complex form of human trafficking.” – Marje Pelayo
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