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Website for child-rights organisation

Published:Wednesday | February 10, 2010 | 12:00 AM


The Office of the Children's Advocate (OCA) has launched its website, www.ocajamaica.com, which will serve as an additional public-education and advocacy tool.

Speaking during the launch earlier this month at the Institute of Jamaica, downtown Kingston, Children's Advocate, Mary Clarke explained that the website, designed and constructed with funding and technical assistance from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), is user-friendly, informative, relevant and interactive.

"As an agency with responsibility for some 936,000 children and one office, we had to find a mechanism to widen our reach, but we have to find different ways, and so with the website, regardless of the time of day, adults, children inside and outside of Jamaica needing information on child rights and other related issues, any child-related institution, is just a click away," Clarke told the gathering.

Useful site

She noted that persons will find the site useful due to the fact that there will also be information and links to other agencies working with, and for children. She said the OCA will, in the near future, be expanding and creating activities that parents and teachers can use to educate children about their rights.

Clarke said the agency also hopes to provide downloadable forms on the website, so tpersons can lodge complaints, electronically or by fax. She assured that the website will be regularly monitored and updated to ensure information is current.

Representative of UNICEF in Jamaica, Robert Fuderich, said the OCA's online presence gives the office a new and important opportunity to reach and share information with a wider audience, within and outside Jamaica.

Child-friendly section

"With the child-friendly section of the site included, the website has a wide appeal for audiences of different ages. It is our hope that the website will become an authoritative source for anyone who parents, or provides care for children, works for and with children, and who is concerned about the welfare of children. UNICEF will continue to support OCA, as it strives to achieve its mandate," he said.

Fuderich commended the work of the OCA, pointing out that since its inception three years ago, public-education consultations have exposed 1,000 children stakeholders and duty bearers to its work, and how to access their services. He said the agency has partially contributed to a tripling of the number of complaints to the OCA with 166 in 2007, 324 in 2008 and 490 in 2009.