Today the child friendly municipality project was launched in all nine municipalities across the country simultaneously. The initiative is collaboration among the Mayors’ Association, UNICEF, UNDP and the Government of Belize. In Orange Walk, the program was launched at the Gala Lounge and Mayor Kevin Bernard expanded on the objectives of the program.
Kevin Bernard – Mayor, OW
“This initiative will go a long way one, the local level is the one that far reaches out to the people as opposed to the bigger government. We believe that as local government we have a more closer communications with the residents and with our young people for a matter of fact and as such we need to look at ways that will ensure that our municipality is a child friendly municipality. There are several things that this looks at we need to focus on where green space is concerned, as you know young children grow up wanted to be able to recreate so we need to ensure that there are safe zones for them, their safety in terms of traffic, we look at good drinking potable water but one of the main key things is to ensure that young children becomes part of our decision making and as local government and as a towns council we need to come up with budgets to ensure that these things which are the pillars of becoming child friendly are prepped as part of our yearly budget. We need to do simple things like putting up street signs in school zones and safety zones these are the things that ensures that our children are safe we have to protect them from violence and abuse so we need to work with the different organizations and other stakeholders to ensure that these things are being done.”
Already, the Orange Walk Town Council has been carrying some initiatives that fall perfectly within the objectives of the program and place this municipality ahead of others in the program. Mayor Bernard says they are working towards ensuring all goals are met under the program.
Kevin Bernard – Mayor, OW
“At the end of this program there is a municipal seal that will be signed and we will be part of that municipal seal but we have to achieve certain goals that we ourselves will set out and I know for a fact that at the last workshop that we had we as municipality focused on some of those nine points that were laid out one of them being that we ought to ensure that we have our safe recreational areas for our young people. We also want to ensure that there are safe zones placed in our municipality with traffic safety, we want traffic signs to be placed in all the areas that our children commute especially the school zone areas and at the same time we want to engage our young people and those are the three things that we want to ensure that our young people become part of the process as we go along developing our municipality.”
The program was launched today and is expected to run for two years concluding in 2016.
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