Philippines Partners With UNICEF

As part of the organization’s commitment toward improving maternal and child health, in 2004 Johnson & Johnson Philippines embarked on a partnership with UNICEF to implement an Early Childhood Development Program (ECCD) in the provinces most in need. For the year 2010-2011, UNICEF chose to focus their efforts in the conflict-ridden areas in North Cotabato, where children are most vulnerable.

Phillipines partner1

 The ECCD program is focused on health and education initiatives that aim to improve access to early childhood care and development services for children, helping them transition to enter primary education. The program’s components include provision of educational supplies/materials, improvement of the learning environment in day care centers, organization of home-based ECCD and ECCD on horse in hard-to-reach communities (see the photo on the right), teacher training and parent/caregiver education programs. In addition, ante-natal care and Female Functional Literacy programs (FFL) were made available for the mothers in North Cotabato.

With UNICEF’s encouragement to go to the ECCD site, as the beneficiaries were eager to be visited by the Johnson & Johnson Philippines team, the team scheduled a two-day visit on March 17-18. The experience was eye-opening; it’s one thing to read reports, and another thing entirely to meet beneficiaries and experience potential challenges in implementing programs.

Phillipines partner

 Visiting day care centers and witnessing recognition ceremonies for the Female Functional Literary program reinforced the belief that JJPI is doing vital work. It was obvious that the ECCD program including a maternal component of Female Functional Literacy, has humbly contributed to bring about life-changing and long-term differences in the lives of the children and mothers in North Cotabato. What the JJP team saw showcased the great efforts and passion of UNICEF’s ECCD specialist to team up with the Local Government Unit to achieve results. (In the photo on the left, Mary Grace Gervacio, HR & Contributions Director for JJPI, congratulates the FFL graduates in Pikit.)

Over the next five years, JJPI plans to focus on improving the overall well-being of children through sustainable programs that address their important needs. But the team knows they can’t do it alone; the whole network (school, home and community) must work together to ensure that children have a responsive support system.