“The money that we spend on early childhood development today will reduce the amount of money we have to invest in hospitals, jails and cemeteries tomorrow.” Cuthbert Didier, Director, Foundation for the Development of Caribbean Children (FDCC).
The Caribbean region has been the breeding ground for outstanding individuals in every discipline or profession. Many of our nationals have carved out positions on the world stage. Take, for example, the accomplishments of the late Sir Arthur Lewis (1915-1991). He was born in the relatively small island of St. Lucia and rose to prominence as a world-class economist and strategic thinker.
We can also draw on examples in law, business, science, music ... the list goes on and on. Sometimes we forget that we have accomplished much with relatively little. And the invention of the steel pan by Trinidadian Winston “Spree” Simon (1930-1976) embraces this whole concept of doing great things with very little; reminding us that, once we let our imagination go, we can create great legacies. Our commitment to excellence and our willingness to innovate have propelled many Caribbean nationals to great heights within and beyond our shores.
And the imagination and demonstration of social responsibility within the region have spawned model institutions too. The Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery (CRNM) has been used a model in “best practice” by regional groups in the Western Hemisphere.
The Foundation for the Development of Caribbean Children (FDCC) is a legacy “young in the making”. It is a foundation that will have a positive impact on children throughout the Caribbean as the people, businesses, and organisations in our region strategize and synergize to improve the future of Caribbean children. The foundation, which was launched in St. Vincent and the Grenadines less than a year ago, is focused on creating a better future for thousands of disadvantaged children across the region through socially responsible investing (SRI). This investment is not limited to financial contributions. The FDCC invites and welcomes voluntary service also.
The FDCC’s formation was considered an imperative when it was discovered that the internationally funded Caribbean Child Support Initiative (CCSI) was being phased out at the end of 2011. The CCSI’s positive impact on early childhood development had been quite evident. This was especially visible through its flagship programme, the Roving Care-givers Programme (RCP).
The RCP is a programme that facilitates the training of community aids who would visit disadvantaged homes on a regular basis providing early childhood stimulation and teaching parents (usually single mothers) how to provide adequate mental, social and emotional stimulation to the young children in the household. This programme, which was given birth in Jamaica, has been modelled in several other Caribbean territories, including St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and has improved the lives of thousands of our children and their families.
Dr. Didacus Jules, a St. Lucian by birth, is the Chairman of the FDCC’s Board of Directors. He is also the Director of the Barbados-based Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) and a consultant to the University of the West Indies (UWI) Institute of Business.
This experienced educator and education practitioner has worked across the Caribbean, in North America, Europe, Africa, the Pacific, and the Middle East. He has been an advisor on educational development to governments in several of these territories. Dr. Didacus Jules advocates that: “CCSI facilitated programmes (like the RCP) proved to be far more cost effective than any other childhood developments in the region.”
So now, with the exodus of the CCSI, the peoples of the Caribbean are committed to continue the good work that they have started, knowing that the investment of our time, talents, and treasures will improve the lives of thousands of our vulnerable children.
We embrace the views of Professor James Joseph Heckman (born 19 April, 1944), the Nobel Laureate in Economics (2000) who reminds us that: “If we don’t provide disadvantaged young children with the proper environment to foster cognitive and non-cognitive skills, we’ll create a class of people ... without the ability to contribute to the larger society nearly as much as they could if they’d been properly nurtured from an early age. Neglecting the early years creates an underclass.”
The FDCC provides an opportunity for all Caribbean peoples and businesses to participate in its worthy efforts to intercept our vulnerable children with intent. Individuals, service clubs, and companies can donate funds to the FDCC initiatives now established in the English-speaking Caribbean. In addition, the FDCC welcomes the public’s support to the various fund-raising activities planned for the period 2012 and beyond as it seeks to ensure that “no child is left behind”.
The organisation brings strong governance, transparency, and accountability. Its financial reporting systems facilitate timely and appropriate progress reporting and fund allocation. The FDCC is committed to a published annual audit along with regular detailed and accurate financial and performance reports. With these in place, socially responsible contributors (individuals and companies) can be confident of the proper management of their funds.