Norway, the medical journal The Lancet and UNICEF jointly hosted in New York a symposium on child survival, which coincided with the UN General Assembly. Speakers, including the President of Afghanistan, H.E. Mr. Hâmid Karzai, H.M. Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan, the President of Madagascar, H.E. Mr. Marc Ravalomanana, and Norwegian Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Jens Stoltenberg, called for an infusion of investment in child health services.
In March 2006, the President of Chile, H.E. Ms. Michelle Bachelet, invited UNICEF and 13 other entities to participate in the
Presidential Advisory Council on Early Childhood Reform ensuring that all infants and toddlers receive wide-ranging care regardless of gender, ethnicity, social status or parental circumstances.
At the All-Africa Meeting of UNICEF country representatives, held in Dakar (Senegal) in November 2006, good practices and lessons learned from the Accelerated Child Survival and Development programme were shared, child survival plans of action and strategies were endorsed, and accountability mechanisms were bolstered.
BASIC EDUCATION AND GENDER EQUALITY
Primary school enrolment is on the upswing in many countries, as government leaders realize their countries’ futures are directly tied to the education of their children. But far too many primary-school-age children remain out of school, about 115 million girls and boys.
Even with enrolment rates increasing, two other challenges exist – young people’s failure to complete an education and gender disparity within schools. National data report higher enrolment rates than household surveys, which identify children enrolled in but not attending school.Young people are less likely to go to school if they are from poor households, rural areas or families in which mothers are not educated. UNICEF reaches out to excluded children through girls’ education initiatives, campaigns to abolish school fees, efforts to reduce child labour, promotion of bilingual education for indigenous students and instructional opportunities for disabled children and young people affected by AIDS.
MANY ROADS, ONE DESTINATION