HIV and AIDS addressed at the First World Conference on Early Childhood Care and Education
Two sessions on HIV and AIDS-affected children at the first global conference on Early Childhood Care and Education (Moscow, Russian Federation, 27-29 September 2010), helped to ensure that their needs were firmly placed on global and national education agendas.
Opening the Conference, Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, highlighted a series of children’s books “featuring two young characters – Bouba and Zaza –a boy and a girl – who learn through lively stories about caring for the environment, understanding HIV and AIDS, accepting people’s differences and other themes in direct resonance with contemporary society”. It was an example of a creative approach to addressing the important challenge of making children’s first learning experience a joy, Ms Bokova said.
Creative solutions and strategic approaches to making ECCE available and accessible to HIV-affected and HIV-infected children were discussed at two thematic sessions on HIV. Researchers and NGO workers, experts and programme managers from different countries, as well as from UNESCO, UNICEF, and CARE identified the key barriers to access for HIV-affected and HIV-infected children and outlined strategies to overcome these.
In addition to an overview of the global situation, presenters from the Russian Federation, South Africa, Thailand and Botswana shared their visions of how care, support and education services can become more accessible and beneficial for HIV-affected and HIV-infected children. UNESCO publications on the education sector response to HIV and AIDS epidemic, including studies, good policy and practice recommendations, toolkits and strategies were made available for all participants.
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