Roving Caregivers SVG lauds  Foundation  for Children
March 22, 2011
Roving Caregivers SVG lauds Foundation for Children

Roving Caregivers programme coordinator Judith Hull-Ballah has stressed the importance of advocacy activities, curriculum training and parent education in an effort to combat the growing problem of a significant increase in underage pregnancies in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

Recent research findings presented by the Ministry of Health here have recorded a significant increase in under age pregnancies between the ages of 10-14, even though birth rates for teenagers between the ages of 17 to 19 years have decreased in 2010.

In an interview held at the annual RCP Coordinators’ meeting at the Savannah Hotel in Barbados, February 24 – 25, RCP coordinator Judith Hull-Ballah shared her organisation’s strategy to deal with the growing problem.

Initiatives carried out through the Roving Caregivers Programme (RCP) have sought to address the issues through the continued push of their early childhood development programme.

“In the first instance, we had some resistance from parents, as they were uncomfortable with people coming into their homes,” Ballah explained. “It was a strange phenomenon and people did challenge what we were trying to achieve and in many instances did not understand the importance of it.”

“However, I am glad to say,” she continued, “that many of the parents are now fully into the parenting training that we offer. We have come to this point in time where we have had cases brought to us from the Ministries, who sitting together with us, are trying to plan how we go forward to tackle the social problems that affect St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We also recognise the efforts of the Courts and the public sector, all coming together in the fight. There is much more work to be done and there is definitely more room for improvement,” said Hull-Ballah.

Speaking about the usefulness of the annual conference, she praised the formation of the Foundation for the Development of Caribbean Children (FDCC), which seeks to ensure that Caribbean young children, from all social and economic backgrounds, have equal opportunities to reach their maximum potential.

Noting how critical the mainstreaming of quality early childhood development and parenting support practices is, Hull-Ballah praised the FDCC, stating, “This conference is extremely beneficial to us, in particular our new strategy that we are going to move into, which is the Foundation for the Development of Caribbean Children.”

“We are now going to speak in a voice that has more ownership,” she said. “I was impressed with the presentation of the consultant to bring home to us what is going to happen, and it taught us to understand that in life we must have change and move upwards.

“We are now moving upwards to something that will catch international attention, because that is a foundation and the way forward to raise money. We have a lot of discussions on how we can involve people from all places in the international arena to put money into foundations and so it was an excellent experience.”