The National Committee for Families and Children (NCFC) was launched in 1994 as the major advisory body to the government on families and children issues. Some five years later, NCFC status was change to a statutory body, giving NCFC more power to further advocate for children rights and legal reform. Since then, NCFC is mandated with promoting, monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), advocating for government to meet its obligation as a signatory to the convention, advocating for the adoption and implementation of positive policies for families and children, and coordinating and promoting activities and child centered development programs that focus on the rights and participation of all children.
Belize became the fifth country to ratify the UN convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). This CRC document has since become the most widely ratified convention and human rights instrument in the world. It is testament to our country’s recognition of the importance of caring for our children and nurturing them to be responsible and productive citizens. It is also a commitment that obligated our Government to enact laws and policies that creates the enabling environment for children to flourish and reach their full potential.
Since Belize’s ratification of the United Nation Convention on the Rights of a Child in May 1990, we have made many strides towards embracing all aspects of children rights. Twenty-six years later, NCFC is proud to introduce its new programme entitled “CRC Ambassadors”; a strategic endeavor to improve the awareness and appreciation of children rights among both children and adults in rural communities countrywide.
With that said, the birthing of the CRC Ambassador Programme came to its realization last November when NCFC conducted a three day child rights training session with 18 young, vibrant and aspiring ambassadors under the stewardship IEC Program Officer. That program pulls together an exceptional cohort of talented and diverse young people who have since committed and contributed countless hours of their time to make this initiative more than a success. While sensitizing the general public on the rights of children still remains a challenge, it is through this medium that NCFC prides itself in a step closer to slowly change the mind of the general populace about the importance of embracing and adhering to children rights.
Today marks a new chapter to add to the already rich and diverse history of NCFC. This weekend was the final step before that new chapter can be added to the lush and rich history indeed. Saturday January 9th 2016, NCFC had its induction ceremony at ITVET Dining Room, Belize City where 15 of the 18 participants that attended the child rights training session were bestowed with the official and prestigious title of ‘Child Rights Ambassador’.
We were also blessed with the presence of the Honorable Anthony Martinez, Minister in the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation and Honorable Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. While we were bless to have the presence of both ministers, we are forever more grateful to the Honorable Patrick Faber for his kind and thoughtful remarks to the ambassadors as well as encouraging each ambassador to do their best but most important, to take such a prestige position with pride and great seriousness. The CRC Ambassadors along with NCFC also thank the Honorable Martinez for his instrumental role in the induction ceremony. Honorable Martinez was key in assisting with the distribution of the certificates to the ambassadors, and as a senior Justice of the Peace, was once again key for the oath signing ceremony. NCFC is please and with great pleasure, welcome the ambassadors to join the NCFC family and once again, extends its sincerest appreciation to both ministers for their presence and role in the induction ceremony.
As a NCFC Child Rights Ambassador, you have a duty to make sure the voices of all Belizean children are heard as loud and clear as possible. Congratulations on your most recent accomplishment to all 15 ambassadors, NCFC wish you all the best. I challenge you to embrace every opportunity. Learn and educate others as much as you can. Work toward the greater good of all humanity. Seek the best possible solution before you act. Remain current. This journey that you have started has no clear cut ending; however, our every effort can only blossom into a beautiful flower. That flower can only be beautiful if together, we make every effort to create some change that is in the best interest of our children.
Names of the Ambassadors and their location:
1. Terrence Morreira –Punta Gorda
2. Sarah Chun – PG Columbia
3. Shereen Monroy – Independence
4. Elisa Ical – Stann Creek West
5. Catherine Bardalez – Stann Creek
6. Jenean Sabal – Stann Creek
7. Darwin Wesby – Belmopan
8. Valentino Vernon - San Ignacio
9. Ashley Young – Belize City
10. Natasha Pipersburgh - Belize City
11. Mellisa Hamilton – Belize City
12. Michael Fritz 11 – Ladyville
13. Shartel Casimiro – Orange Walk
14. Danielle Reneau – Orange Walk Town
15. Karl Gutierrez - Corozal Town