UNICEF to Boost Moroccan School Attendance with Child to Child Program

In partnership with the Moroccan Ministry of Education, UNICEF has launched the fourth phase of its “Child to Child” program, which aims to promote school enrollment and assist children who have dropped-out of schools across Morocco.“Child to Child” is an educational program designed to promote the enrollment of Moroccan children in the education system and to prevent dropouts.The program, running to 2030, identifies children who do not attend school and works to reintegrate them into the education system. “The program aims to identify students who are not in school, and prepare them for re-inscription,” said UNICEF representative Giovanna Barberis.It includes a “Second Chance” program for children who have already dropped out, supporting them through an educational follow up program, explains the UNICEF press release.It also aims to sensitize schools, students and families to issues associated with school drop-out, such as exclusion and marginalization.Read also: UNICEF: Moroccan Media Do Poorly in Educating Children“The children, teenagers and young people that leave school fall back into illiteracy. They have no certificates to access professional training and they don’t have the competencies required to participate in society,” Berberis noted. While most children attend primary school in Morocco, attendance rates drop significantly for high school education.According to a November 2018 UNICEF report, 99.1% of children aged 6 to 11 attended primary school in 2016/2017. However, overall only 66% of children aged 15 to 17 attended high school. Numbers drop significantly in rural areas, and for girls. Only 69.4% of girls aged 12 to 14 and 32.2% of girls aged 15 to 17 in rural areas attended high school. “The right to education is fundamental. It is the key to accessing all other rights and breaking the cycle of inter-generational poverty,” said Barberis. The “Child to Child” program is funded in part by the Canadian government.Phase 4 was launched in a small community school in Mejlaou, one hour south of Tangier, at a meeting attended by government representatives of the National Initiative for Human Development, UNICEF, local education associations and a number of children who have already benefited from the program. read more

Comment invited as proposed Haisla Nation LNG project enters regulatory process

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 24, 2019.The Canadian Press VANCOUVER — The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada is inviting comment from the public and Indigenous groups until Oct. 20 on a Haisla Nation proposal to build a floating LNG project near the northern B.C. community of Kitimat.The proposed Cedar LNG project would supercool gas to produce three to four million tonnes of liquefied natural gas per year.Construction is proposed to start in 2022 and continue until 2025, contingent on regulatory approvals, First Nations consultation and a final investment decision by the Haisla-owned LNG company.The agency, the new federal regulator created in August, says input will be used to prepare a summary of issues, adding it is also seeking input on a proposal from the province to assume conduct of the environmental impact assessment process.According to a project summary, Cedar LNG would receive gas from a link to the 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink pipeline, the same link . that is to supply the $40-billion LNG Canada project now under construction also at Kitimat.The summary says the project would need about 200 megawatts of power, preferably from the BC Hydro transmission grid but potentially self-generated.It says it expects between 40 and 50 LNG carrier vessels would call at the facility each year. read more

Cat control in limbo

Local volunteers will have to make the case later this year for feral cat control in Norfolk.Norfolk council received a report this week on the performance of the program since 2017.However, council did not restore $10,000 in funding that it cut in January. As well, council did not commit to renewing the program in 2020.The outcome was a disappointment for local cat managers. Regardless, they will attempt to sell council on the merits of trap, neuter and re-home in time for the 2020 budget deliberations.“I’m glad it’s still alive,” Sandi Fettes of Simcoe, a spokesperson for the local program, said this week. “It’s not dead in the water yet. They recognize there are a lot of benefits to the program.”Pam Duesling, Norfolk’s general manager of development and cultural services, tabled a report Tuesday on the performance of the local program.Council heard that, in 2016, the feral cat population in Norfolk was estimated at up to 30,000. There were concerns about feral cats spreading disease, as well as their impact on birds and wildlife.Norfolk devoted $50,000 to trap, neuter and re-home in 2017. This was reduced to $40,000 in 2018.During council’s budget deliberations in January, the $30,000 proposed for 2019 was reduced to $20,000.Fettes and her colleagues hoped council would reverse the $10,000 cut this week but that didn’t happen.The cat-control initiative was approved in 2017 as a three-year program. There was no commitment beyond 2019 and cat control is not a mandated municipal responsibility. Volunteers will learn in January whether council is prepared to renew it.The contract this year is held by Purrfect Companions of Delhi.“In the past three years, Purrfect Companions took in 1,900 cats,” founder and president Brenda Cameron said. “We saved a lot of cats. We spent $691,000 over the last three years on our entire operation.”In a recent presentation to Norfolk council, Fettes said cat-control volunteers are making progress reducing the number of feral cats.She said the spay-and-neuter program has at least slowed, if not reduced, the birth rate. Cat numbers could rebound if the county prematurely withdraws funding, she said.In her report, Duesling said nine per cent of the cats that passed through Purrfect Companions last year were returned to a managed colony. Homes were found for the rest. At a managed colony, the cats are left alone but are fed and monitored for disease.Homes were found for 800 cats last year at a cost to new owners of between $80 and $150 per animal. The shelter on the east side of Delhi is at capacity. There are 280 cats on site, while another 150 are in foster care.MSonnenberg@postmedia.com read more