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Kakata: UNESCO Ends Early Childhood Awareness Workshop

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The Early Childhood Development Unit at the Ministry of Education with funding from UNESCO conducted a two-day intensive training workshop from July 13-14, 2010 for sixteen local language announcers. Additionally, the trainees represented sixteen vernaculars around the country which include Sarpo, Kru, Grebo, Krahn, Dan (Gio), Mann (Mano), Kpelle, Bassa, Lorma, Mandingo, Mende, Gola, Via, Kisi, Bandi and Kuwaa (Belle).

The workshop was designed around five thematic areas: Overview of Early Childhood Development, Health Care (Pre/Post Natal Care & Immunization), Nutrition/Breast Feeding, Protection & Sanitation, and The Socialization Process with Focus on Parents, Teachers and Caregivers. The workshop was an opportunity for radio messages to be developed and subsequently aired on community radio stations in the various counties.

Mrs. Yukhiko Amnon, Director of Early Childhood Development at the Ministry of Education facilitated the “Overview of Early Childhood Development. She placed emphasis on the care for children between the ages of zero to five years. Mrs. Amnon concluded that proper care minimizes future health and security risks but increases productivity. Dr. Hawa Kroma, County Health Officer for Margibi County facilitated the topic: “Health Care”.

Among other things, she accentuated basic health facts about the proper caring for pregnant women and expected babies such as, periodic medical checkup, the use of medical drugs based on doctor’s prescription and eating well. Based on her presentation, pregnant women are encouraged to also care for themselves as they do care for their spouses. She also mentioned that constant bleeding and breaching of the fetus are dangerous signs which pregnant women need to report to their physicians.

Thirdly, Mrs. Weata Korfeh provided lecture on the topic: Nutrition/Breast Feeding. She informed participants that breast milk is the best milk. Mrs. Korfeh said can make babies healthy. She also encouraged nursing mothers to breast feed their children at least up to two years. Furthermore, during the period of lactation an infant develops a sense of belongingness. Moreover, Mr. K. Leo Pouseah, Deputy Chief of Session Women & Child Protection Session at the Liberia National Police co-facilitated the topic: Protection & Sanitation.

He said that the rights of children must be given serious consideration in the establishment and running of ECD programs in Liberia. Mr. Pouseah discouraged parents and caregivers from beating children as a means of correcting them. Instead, they should counsel their kids and continuously remain role models.

Mrs. Nada Ajami Tondo, co-facilitator of the topic: Protection & Sanitation, provided lecture on the sanitation aspect. She informed participants that a clean and safe environment is essential to the growth and wellbeing of children.

Therefore, parents as well as caregivers should dispose harmful materials, feces, dirty water and spoiled food items properly. Moreover, parents and caregivers should encourage hygienic practices such as “Wash your children’s hands before they eat, Prevent them from  eating unsafe food, bathe them regularly, Children should wear clean clothing, etc.

Additionally, one of the most essential aspects of early childhood development is socialization through play. Therefore, the last workshop topic was “The Socialization Process with Focus on Parents, Teachers and Caregivers”. This all important topic was facilitated by Mr. Curtis V. Dorley.

He informed participants that play is essential to the growth and brain development of every child. But Mr. Dorly also cautioned that children need to play in a safe and clean environment.

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