On September 6, 2017 hurricane Irma brought devastation to the island of St. Maarten. After the hurricane, UNICEF the Netherlands supported the government of St. Maarten, focusing particularly on school safety, psychosocial support and child protection.
In 2018 and 2019 a recovery programme was implemented in collaboration with the government. Building on the results of this programme, a followup project will be implemented in collaboration with the government and the Trust Fund for St. Maarten that is administered by the World Bank.
Through this project, UNICEF the Netherlands aims to support the government of St. Maarten to strengthen the education and child protection systems to address and respond to the needs of children and adolescents resulting from natural disasters and external shocks. More specifically, we have the following three main objectives:
1. Support the government to help schools, families and children to cope with shocks. The aim is to support teachers to deal with their own crisis-related needs while also improve their ability to detect needs and to provide psychosocial support to children. Another aim is to increase the ability of children and adolescents to cope better with shocks by providing life skills trainings and promoting the development of a safe environment at school and family level.
2. Support the government to strengthen the child protection system in Sint Maarten and in particular to ensure it serves to protect children during emergencies. For instance, the aim is to strengthen the Child protection referral and case management system and to support the development of a child Protection Information System. Another aim is to strengthen the knowledge of professionals, such as teachers, social workers, health care personel, on child protection.
3. Support the government to strengthen coordination for disaster risk management at the education system and school levels to better prepare and respond to natural hazards and protect children’s safety during emergencies
Child Resilience and Protection Project Plans:
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The first issue of the "Growing Up Safe Sint Maarten" magazine was launched in August 2020. The magazine is intended for professionals on Sint Maarten who work with children and in particular with children with protection needs. UNICEF Netherlands and Augeo Foundation created the magazine together with professionals based on Sint Maarten. The aim of the magazine is to inspire professionals and to facilitate continuous learning in the child protection sector on Sint Maarten.