The newly-established Foundation for the Development of Caribbean Children (FDCC) recently hosted Trustees of the Bernard Van Leer Foundation (BVLF), one of the region’s major partners in the promotion of Early Childhood Development (ECD). Among the BVLF contingent were Rien Van Gendt, Trustee and a former Executive Director, Jacqueline Tammenoms-Bakker and Director of Communications, Leontien Peeters.The Netherlands-based Foundation was the major funding source of the Caribbean Child Support Initiative, started in 2002. In 2011, this programme transitioned to the FDCC, as the first indigenous Foundation focused on early childhood development (ECD). The FDCC is headed by Consultant Director, Susan Branker and chaired, by Dr Didacus Jules, head of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC).
During the five-day visit, the Trustees spent time in Barbados, Dominica and St Lucia, with the primary aim of promoting support for and investment in the FDCC. To this end, they met with officials of the Caribbean Development Bank, UNICEF, the management team of the Duty Free Caribbean Holdings Ltd in St Lucia and the newly-elected Prime Minister of St Lucia, Dr Kenny Anthony.
While in St Lucia, the FDCC hosted a luncheon at the Sandals Resort during which Mr van Gendt used the opportunity to signal the social importance of investment in the region’s children, especially 0 - 6 years old and encouraged the private sector to partner with the FDCC.
The Trustees also got the opportunity to visit communities where the FDCC’s flagship programme, the Roving Caregivers Programme (RCP) is implemented. The RCP was one of the major projects funded by the BVLF. During the field trips, the Trustees were able to observe some of the stimulation activities as well as to meet with parents, Rovers and the RCP staff. The RCP is implemented currently in Grenada, Dominica, St Vincent, St Lucia, Jamaica and Belize.
The visit ran from February 19 to 23, 2012.