Walkathon to highlight early childhood education

The educational and financial needs of economically deprived 0-3 year olds in Dominica are set to take centre-stage on Wednesday November 16, when walkers in the RCP/YouCAN Walkathon amble into full strides across the state capital. The Walkathon, dubbed “I believe in Early Childhood Development – Give our Children the Foundation they Deserve”, will start at Goodwill Savannah at 9:00 am and culminate at the Public Service Union (PSU) complex in Roseau.

The walkathon, a joint enterprise of the Roving Caregivers Programme (RCP), ChildFund Caribbean, and the RCP’s community-based affiliate – the Youth and Community Advocacy Network (YouCAN) seeks to raise national awareness for the importance of Early Childhood Development (ECD), and in particular, the work and achievements of the Roving Caregivers Programme (RCP) and its affiliated groups in providing ECD services to Dominica’s deprived, excluded and vulnerable children. This timely and pivotal event is supported by the Caribbean Child Support Initiative (CCSI) and the National Bank of Dominica.

RCP, an informal early childhood education programme that engineers the stimulation of children birth to three years of age, who do not have access to any formal early childhood education, has been operating in communities in the parish of St. David since 2004. More than 750 children, roughly 250 families and 70 Rovers (RCP’s home visitors) have benefited from the programme so far.

Even though the RCP has experienced tremendous success in Dominica and in other Eastern Caribbean Countries, it still remains relatively unknown nationally, and is severely underfunded particularly as it strives to be implemented nationally. Funding is RCP’s foremost focus at the moment, as the major funder edges closer to the termination of its financial support at the end of this year.

Coordinator of RCP, Mrs. Nisbertha Buffong, states that “It is imperative that RCP be allowed to continue and expand nationally since the stimulation of children in the 0-3 age band is critical to their overall development, because the first three years last forever. Early childhood education can no longer be seen as the privilege of a few but rather as the right of all our children”.

Scores of walkers, ranging from pre-schoolers, to high-schoolers, to college students, parents, youth activists and Early Childhood Development (ECD) practitioners will walk, sing and raise placards in support of RCP and quality ECD services. Over fifteen schools have confirmed their participation. All pre-selected participants, with the exception of pre-schoolers, will converge at the starting-point at Goodwill Savannah. Pre-schoolers in Roseau will join the group en route to the PSU. The duration of their participation will be left to the discretion of their accompanying teacher (s).

A music-truck will accompany the walkers for the entire journey. It will play pre-selected songs and jingles that are appropriate for the occasion. The Royal Dominica Police Force (RDPF) will provide police escort. A team of medics from Dominica Red Cross will be with us in case anyone needs medical assistance.

RCP and ChildFund Caribbean are providing an opportunity for the public to view the work of and interact with RCP’s staff during the walkathon and via a mini-showcase which will be held walkathon on the lawns of the PSU compound.

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3 Comments

  1. Buffong
    November 10, 2011

    Please correct as the Police Force is not ROYAL…. We are not dependents of UK.

    • Woodford Hill girl
      November 10, 2011

      @ Buffong, thank you so much for the observation,I was very offended by that royal crap,I have been around for some time and have yet to see what the so-called royals did for Dominica,so please scrap that royal mess off our DOMINICA POLICE FORCE thank you :twisted:

  2. sandw
    November 10, 2011

    Mrs Buffong – this is an admirable job you are doing. I wish you every success.

    If a child’s mind is not stimulated in this crucial period, then it has a permanent detrimental affect on their learning for the rest of their lives.

    Incidently, why are there no educational toy and book shops in this country, selling safe, robust toys to stimulate a child’s mind, and beautiful books to encourage a child’s imagination?

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