Our Strategic Intent
The NCFC follows its Strategic Action Plan 2017-2021 that aims to delineate a number of interventions and actions points that are expected to further increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the initiatives and contributions of NCFC towards the fulfillment of the rights of children. The identified actions are assumed to contribute to the establishment of a set of results, to be grouped under the term “Key Result Areas (KRA).” Each KRA contains one or more goals that articulates the intended results. The strategy to achieve the goals show the specific intervention choices that NCFC has made of the possible options. It is without doubt that the goals and strategies speak to a period of time that exceeds the duration of the present strategic action plan. Therefore the goals articulated in the plan are deemed to set realistic and achievable milestones for the said period.
Overall Goal: The fulfillment of children’s right is regarded and treated as a crucial aspect of national development planning and intentional social investment.The five Key Result Areas (KRAs) represent a causal pathway that will produce the results needed to improve the lives of children and their families. It identifies advocacy (legal and political change) as the overarching strategy which is to be guided by Policy and Legal Reform, Monitoring and Evaluation and Children and Adolescent Participation. The idea is that advocating for necessary policy and legal changes, identifying and executing a monitoring and evaluation framework and engaging young opinion leaders/rights holders to advocate for their rights will cumulatively lead to positive changes for children and their families.
The Key Result Areas
The NCFC works along five Key Result Areas that outline the programmatic focus of the organization.
- Information Education Communication
- Policy and Legal Reform
- Monitoring and Evaluation
- Children and Adolescent Participation
- Institutional Strengthening
The NCFC acknowledges that an increase of awareness and understanding is required at the duty berear and rights holder level, to further develop the national potential for supporting adequate responses to neglect of violation of children’s rights. The provision of information about the NCFC and its role is a vital component of the advocacy work. The NCFC acts as an advocate for children’s rights. It also conducts public education and awareness programmes on children’s rights issues. These programmes target all levels of society, including children themselves. Various strategies and diverse mediums have been employed and utilized to create awareness about issues affecting children and adolescents and their families. The NCFC also supports policies, projects and programmes that are of benefit to children and adolescents, that make their best interest a priority.
Immediate Goal : To increase levels of national awareness of and support to the children’s agenda.
Strategy 1: Increase the number and effectiveness of NPA Information and communication outlet points
- Objective 1.1:Normative information packages for decision-makers and rights-holders designed and delivered
- Objective 1.1.2:Population has access to all information on the progress of the general and area‐specific implementation of the NPA
Strategy 1.2:Raise the level of awareness of NCFC and its work
- Objective 1.2: General public government agencies, potential donors and the implementing agencies are knowledgeable about the mandate, role and services of the NCFC
- Objective 1.2.1:Channels for public dialogue expanded
Over the past few years, the National Committee for Families and Children has partnered with several other agencies within the sector to produce information, education and communication materials in various forms, which have helped to create awareness and sensitize the general public and special populations on various issues affecting them personally and society at large. Several publications have been developed which are now being used as resources by our partner agencies.
One of our mandates is to provide CRC education for the families and children of our society. Over the years the NCFC has employed various strategies providing sensitization at various levels of society. We have embarked on programmes educating teachers, children and parents through a variety of methods.
Additionally, the NCFC also provides CRC education to interested persons or groups upon request.
The NCFC commemorates several international awareness days. International Children’s Day of Broadcasting (ICDB) and International Human Rights Day are among those commemorated by the NCFC. On these occasions we plan specific projects that create awareness about these various causes.
Public Awareness and Education
The NCFC is legally empowered to recommend to the government laws and policies for the care, protection and maintenance of families and children in Belize.The NCFC is charged with the responsibility of advocating for policies and legislation that promote the best interest of children and families. In 1995, the National Committee for Families and Children (NCFC) initiated the complex task of legal reform that still continues today. The main objective of the reform is to bring the Laws of Belize in tandem with the Convention on the Rights of the Child. A critical opportunity for NCFC is to focus on evidence-based advocacy for adequate policy development and legal reform to overcome the challenges to the fulfillment of children’s rights in Belize. Apart from formulating recommendations for the optimization of the relevant national laws and legal instruments, new opportunities exist for NCFC to explore avenues for gaining insight in complementary policy response options at the national and sub-national levels.
Immediate Goal: To optimize the formal state response to CRC / NPA
Strategy 2: Increase use of evidence for proposed legal reform in NPA Attention Areas
- Objective 2.1: National policies and legislation, related to NPA Attention Areas, are fully aligned with the NPA and CRC
- Objective 2.1.2: Evidence from Area Specific Intervention models generated
Strategy 2.2: Strengthen the policy advisory functions of the NCFC
- Objective 2.2 Mechanism for the provision of policy advice on children’s issues is functional
The Families and Children Act FACA was passed in 1998. It was one of the first pieces of legislation in the English-speaking Caribbean that explicitly attempts to operationalize the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This ACT is currently being used as a model for legal reform in the Eastern Caribbean. Although this ACT has been passed there is need to amend it to address gaps that may have been noticed during its use. The NCFC has been facilitating a multi-agency effort to strengthen the Child Abuse and Protection system. Since then there have been subsequent statutory instruments passed that have strengthened the provision in the law as it relates to Child Abuse Protection.
Planning Monitoring and Evaluation
The NCFC is charged with the responsibility of monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and other international, regional and local commitments that government has made regarding children and their families. The NCFC should ensure the government’s compliance with those obligations. Regarded as the national version of the CRC, the NPA is the key reference and guiding document for the NCFC. Although not responsible for the direct implementation of the NPA strategies and actions, the level of progress towards NPA targets provides an indication of NCFC’s effectiveness in coordinating and monitoring the implementation of the plan. This plan aims to re-institute the application of existing procedures, mechanism and protocols for the periodic review of the NPA as well as for the periodic planning and monitoring of the implementation. Although not confined to the NPA environment only, the NCFC will make additional efforts to respond to the ongoing weakness in the national data systems to ensure that the actual planning and review process and instruments are effective. The NCFC acknowledges the dominant presence and inputs of the human and institutional factors in these processes and aims to strengthen and optimize the required human inputs as such, as well as the financial resources to bring about the desired results.
Immediate Goal: To enable periodic reviews and the systematic national response for the progressive realization of Children’s Right
- Objective 3.1: Annual NPA Implementation Plans are completed comprehensively and on time
- Objective 3.1.2: Progress information on NPA Implementation Plan is acquired
- Objective 3.2: Systemic challenges in NPA data and data flow have been addressed
- Objective 3.3: Collaborative models for integrated service delivery are operational in Southside Belize City and Toledo District
- Objective 3.3.2: Gaps in the NPA M&E Framework are comprehensively address
NPA and Implementation Plan
In September 2004 the NPA was officially launched with full endorsement from the then Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, renewing their commitment to the overall goals of the Plan. In meeting its goals this National Plan sets out specific objectives and targets to address issues in six main areas: Education, Health, Child Protection, HIV& AIDS, Family and Culture.
However, recognizing that a plan by itself is deficient without execution, the NCFC in 2005 sponsored the development of an Implementation Plan for the NPA, (NPAIP), and establishment of two subcommittees: Social Sector NPA Planning Sub-Committee and NPA Monitoring and Evaluation Committee; to ensure the successful implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the NPA. These committees comprised representation from the Ministries of Education, Health, Human Development, National Development, the Belize Police Department, NCFC, and UNICEF.
Children and Adolescent Participation
One of the fundamental principles of the CRC is a child’s right to participation. This principle is expressed through a series of articles within the Convention. Article 12 specifically speaks to the child’s right to be listened to and taken seriously in all matters affecting him or her, while Article 13 emphasizes the child’s right to freedom of expression. Article 14 focuses on the child’s right to freedom of conscience, thought and religion; Article 15, the right of freedom of association; Article 16, the right to privacy, Article 17, the right to access information; and Article 29, the right to education that promotes respect for human rights and democracy.
What does it mean to participate?
Participation can mean different things in different circumstances and contexts. In its most basic sense, participation is partaking in and influencing processes, decisions and activities. Participation occurs in various forms and, based on the age and maturity of that individual, it can also occur on different levels. It can range from simply being present and being informed to initiating and making decisions. It includes seeking information, expressing desire to learn at a very young age, forming views and expressing ideas, taking part in activities and processes, being informed and consulted in decision-making, initiating instead, processes, proposals and projects, analyzing situations and making choices, and respecting others and being treated with dignity.
Immediate Goal: To enhance participation of children and adolescents
Objective 4: Children and adolescents organized and equipped to participate in and influence the policy making processes.
A known adage in business management is that a plan is as good as the ability of its owners to implement it. Several assessments in recent times have identified the need for NCFC to improve on its internal governance and operational characteristics and features to attain higher levels of efficiency and effectiveness. The implementation of this plan will require that a number of processes and actions will have to take place at the level of the Committee and Secretariat that enhance changes to the way business is conducted. The specific actions of this plan are assumed to consolidate the rudimentary presence of current governance and management practices and to develop them in time to levels that provide improved institutional and professional capacities and incentives to reach the substantive milestones of this plan towards the end of 2012.
Immediate Goal: Improve the overall levels of good governance and oversight functionality of the Committee
Strategy 5. To improve the institutional operational environments of the NCFC
- Objective 5.1: Staff Development Training
- Objective 5.2: Organization Review Recommendations