4 Problems Affecting Childhood in Costa Rica and Their Possible Solutions

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    Within the framework of Children’s Day, UNICEF thanks the institutions and citizens for working together to propose its work plan, which generates actions and solutions for problems in health, child protection, education, social protection and child poverty. ; that threaten the fulfillment of the rights of children and adolescents, especially for 571 thousand minors living in poverty in Costa Rica and especially vulnerable populations such as indigenous, migrant, disabled and sexually diverse children.

    “Based on evidence and after a highly participatory, consensual and articulated process, which has the contribution of children and adolescents, government officials, civil society, academia and the private sector, we propose the cooperation program of UNICEF for the next four years. Problems are detected and at the same time, actions and solutions are proposed in Health, Nutrition, Environment and Sanitation; Education and Early Childhood; Protection of Children and Social Protection”, explained the Representative of UNICEF Costa Rica, Patricia Portela De Souza.

    From 2023 to 2027, UNICEF will focus on working together with institutions and citizens in:

    1) Health, nutrition, environment and sanitation- “In health, UNICEF calls on the population to get vaccinated as they did before the pandemic and thus protect girls and boys from different diseases and not just from COVID. To do this, we started this week, in Talamanca, a campaign with the Ministry of Health, PAHO, among other entities, which in addition to messages, includes vaccination tours and direct work with the communities to analyze the benefits of vaccination”, explained the UNICEF representative.

    Unicef ​​will also lead actions that include changing and approving laws, citizenship training, schools for families, recreational programs, to combat childhood overweight and obesity, mental illness, suicidal ideas and suicides; the early onset of sexual life; environmental and climatic threats due to lack of land use planning and inadequate waste management.

    2) Education- UNICEF emphasizes the need to improve literacy during early education in Costa Rica since, among people aged 7 to 17, 74% were in the two lowest performance levels in reading (PISA 2018) and only 7% of children and adolescents (NNA) indicate mastering a second language. The country must also stop the expulsion of girls and boys from the educational system, achieve greater insertion of indigenous, Afro-descendant, migrant and disabled children and adolescents, as well as stop violence in educational centers.

    UNICEF already works hand in hand with the MEP, in promoting equality programs, scholarships and transportation; online training for fathers, mothers and citizens on changes in behavior and social norms on issues of socio-emotional health; positive masculinities, xenophobia and discrimination. Also, he will advocate for the approval of the Digital Literacy Law. Likewise, it promotes the access of girls and adolescent women to the development of digital skills, learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEAM); promotes platforms and associations with and for the strengthening of its leadership, voice and agency with initiatives such as Soy Valentía. It will influence so that the universities that train professors and professors include a gender equality component. It will promote agreements with the private sector to generate employment for young people and people with disabilities.

    3) Protection- According to data from the National Children’s Trust (PANI), in 2021 received 84,496 complaints of situations that threaten or violate children’s rights. Furthermore, with the Socioeconomic changes increase cases of online violence, human trafficking, sexual exploitation. It is also necessary to consider children without families. Of the same way, the humanitarian situation caused by massive flows of migrant population causes many children and adolescents are exposed to danger, violence and pain.

    UNICEF is currently working with PANI and MIDEPLAN in a broad consultation process with institutions, children and adolescents to formulate the new Childhood and Adolescence Policy for the period 2023-2033, in which priorities, goals and necessary resources will be defined to accelerate the fulfillment of children’s rights.

    It will also advocate for no girl or boy under 5 years of age to be institutionalized, but rather to be in charge of a family; will review and strengthen with the PANI, the program on family formation (FAMA) so that they protect their daughters and sons, will strengthen the institutions that make up the Local Protection Subsystems (SSLP) and the National Comprehensive Protection System (SNPI) will review and it will evaluate the legislation on cybercrime and continue with the strategy of certification of child-friendly cantons.

    4) Social protection and child poverty- According to the INEC, about 571 thousand minors live in poverty and the highest percentage of poverty is among boys and girls from 0 to 5 years old. This violates basic rights such as food and housing. The 10 cantons with the lowest welfare for children and adolescents are: Corredores, Garabito, Osa, Turrialba, Upala, Buenos Aires, La Cruz, Los Chiles, Talamanca and Coto Brus.

    In this field, UNICEF will promote and support, hand in hand with MIDEPLAN, the implementation of the National Plan to overcome poverty and social inclusion 2022-2030; the expansion of the coverage of care services for boys and girls, especially the REDCUDI, -including a gender approach and decentralization to adapt care services to the needs of the indigenous, Afro-descendant, disabled and migrant populations , refuge-, and will continue with communication campaigns on the importance of early childhood in the rest of life. “Our proposal is to reduce social, economic and territorial gaps that strongly affect this population and their families, so that no one is left behind, developing the full potential of each boy and girl who lives in Costa Rica”, commented the UNICEF Representative.

    To generate changes and positive results in these four areas, UNICEF will continue to support the Costa Rican State and its institutions, articulating the efforts of local governments, universities, civil society, the private sector, the media, the United Nations System and, above all, giving voice to girls, boys and young people and adolescents to advance in the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for children and adolescents.

    UNICEF is currently working with the National Children’s Trust and MIDEPLAN in a broad consultation process with institutions, children and adolescents to formulate the new Childhood and Adolescence Policy for the period 2023-2033, in which the priorities will be defined. , goals and resources needed to accelerate the fulfillment of children’s rights.

    Similarly, UNICEF promotes, together with the government of Costa Rica, MIDEPLAN, the Foreign Ministry and the PANI a consultative and widely participatory process for the formulation of the new Program of Cooperation for the period 2023-2027 that will direct its efforts and resources to attend to the identified challenges.

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