Partnership announced supporting early childhood development in remote communities

Partnership announced supporting early childhood development in remote communities

by Freya Lucas

February 16, 2021

A new partnership between UNICEF Australia and Livingstone International has been announced, designed to support early childhood development in remote Indigenous communities.

 

Focussing on communities in the Northern Territory, the program hopes to reach some of Australia’s most vulnerable children, and will work in partnership with local community organisations.

 

The program recognises the essential, interlinked building blocks for the early years: health care, good hygiene, optimal nutrition, and a stimulating, nurturing and safe environment for all-round development and learning, and works to erode barriers to early childhood development services. 

 

Working in unison with parents and local communities to provide children with the best start in life, the program builds on recognition that children who have access to health, nutrition and learning opportunities before they begin school show sustained improvements in cognitive, language and psychosocial development.

 

Targeting some of the country’s most under-resourced, and hardest to reach communities, the partnership program will contribute $100,000 a year for three years and hopes to have a side benefit of empowering local community groups and parents.

 

The locally developed, locally led program aims specifically to:

 

  • Improve access to health care and advocate for good hygiene practices during COVID-19;
  • Remove nutrition barriers to enable children to thrive;
  • Reduce the risk of children developing chronic diseases; and, 
  • Facilitate early childhood learning for children to improve school readiness. 

 

Being community led, the program will also support local employment and training opportunities for Indigenous women through building local staff capacity through mentoring, skills development and formal qualifications, UNICEF said. 

 

“Young Aboriginal children living in rural areas of Australia are more likely to face barriers in accessing early childhood development programs, missing a crucial chance to lay strong foundations for their futures,” Tony Stuart, CEO of UNICEF Australia said, expressing gratitude for partners such as Livingstone International who enable the organisation to be able to reach more children.

 

Given UNICEF’s status as being entirely reliant on voluntary donations from the public and private sector to deliver long-term, sustainable change for children locally and worldwide, and as such, welcomes Livingstone International’s commitment to this program.

 

Ivan Paulus, Vice President of Livingstone International, said the organisation was delighted to partner with UNICEF Australia to deliver the critical program.

 

“Through COVID-19 we have had the opportunity to work with the team at UNICEF Australia to equip the most vulnerable with PPE supplies. We now look forward to extending our partnership to deliver sustainable and real impact to Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory.” 

 

Further information about the program is available here.

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