National Childhood Strategy Achieved
Young people constitute a significant proportion of society in Bahrain and investing in their futures is vital for the country’s human development and to achieving the Millennium Development Goals related to young people. The National Childhood Strategy 2013 – 2017 represents a unified framework that brings together all national parties devoted to promoting rights of the child.
Through the collaborative efforts of the National Childhood Committee, UNDP, the UN International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), experts, academics, parents and children, a National Childhood Strategy has been drafted which aims to address children's health, educational and social rights. Developing a National Childhood Strategy (NCS) will pave the way for nationwide, multi-sectoral discussions and action plans on the priorities areas to be addressed.
The Strategy focuses on four main themes which include the right to health, education and capacity development, protection and participation and non-discrimination. These themes have been further developed according to three critical human development principles which are respect of human rights, equal opportunities between the two sexes and integration of those with disabilities.
Under the joint programme between UNDP and the Ministry of Social Development, “Support to the Development of the National Childhood Strategy and the National Strategy for Persons with Disabilities for the Kingdom of Bahrain”, the NCS highlights Bahrain’s progress towards meeting international standards in the area of children’s rights and their protection.
Initial steps focused on updating the Situation Analysis for Children in Bahrain (SITAN) that serves as the conceptual framework. Focus groups were created to implement discussions with children and communities after which field reports on the needs and aspirations of children and communities were drafted. The final SITAN document was endorsed by the National Childhood Committee, and the document was printed and disseminated
Based on the Analysis, a framework for developing the Strategy, as well as the action plan, was prepared and endorsed. Thematic working groups were formulated accordingly to work on preparation of the NCS. Following discussions with relevant stakeholders and review, the Strategy was approved, endorsed, printed and disseminated. At the same time, the capacities of the steering committee and working group members on analyzing children’s issues were built within the context of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) with a focus on devising strategic direction for the well-being of children.
The comprehensive Childhood Strategy, which has already been approved by the Cabinet, will outline a detailed roadmap for all relevant ministries to follow.