The Ministry of Social Development (MIDES), after working jointly for a year and in alliances with Service Provider Organizations (PAHO) such as the United Panama Fund, Nutre Hogar and the Athens Foundation, and with the support of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and ESRI Panama, organized the closing event of the first edition of the Cuidarte Program implementation, which has benefited 1,200 boys and girls in the communities of the Darién and Veraguas provinces, and the Emberá Wounaan and Ngäbe Buglé regions.
The Cuidarte Program is an initiative carried out by MIDES, in order to promote the integral development of early childhood from 6 to 36 months in rural and regional areas.
This program seeks to recognize the leading role that the family has in the care, upbringing, education and development of children, guaranteeing their fundamental rights such as: identity, health, initial education and nutrition.
The Minister of Social Development, María Inés Castillo, said that this process has become the spearhead to work towards a diversified model of early childhood care services, betting on increasing the coverage of services so that no child stay behind
“Today we celebrate together what has been achieved, but more importantly, we renew our commitment to continue working hand in hand in favor of our early childhood,” said Minister Castillo.
The head of the social portfolio also thanked the IDB, Nutre Hogar, Fondo Unido Panama and the Atenas Foundation for their dedication, commitment and work, having the total conviction that they went the extra mile, on many occasions, in obtaining results that they speak for themselves.
For her part, the executive director of Fondo Unido Panama -United Way Panama-, Marisa Arias Thayer, indicated that one year after the Cuidarte Program was implemented, the work can continue, as long as local capacities are strengthened.
“With this piloting we can talk about rights through the provision of services in areas where before we could not testify or give evidence. We have an opportunity and a responsibility to say that it can be done, and not only say that it is a responsibility of the State, but in alliance with those who are available, “he said.
Meanwhile, the executive director of Nutre Hogar, Vanessa Vicuña, pointed out that this program not only changed the lives of the beneficiaries, but also the organization that, despite having experience in this type of program, left traces that will never go away. vanish.
He recalled that this association has spent many years caring for children under five (5) years of age in conditions of malnutrition, who are cared for in homes where they recover; in addition to having projects and programs to integrate the family, early stimulation, as well as drinking water, home improvement and family gardens, among others.
While the executive director of the Athens Foundation, Amanda Torres, explained that in this pilot it was possible to develop an instrument to measure the growth and development of children.
“Once we have all the samples, we can validate it and present the results to find out the development that each child should have according to their age,” he stressed.
It should be noted that all the information of the Cuidarte Program is within a centralized web portal, which was created by ESRI Panama, where the different foundations and organizations have entered the data collected in the pilot that was developed in the Emberá Wounaan and Ngäbe Buglé regions. , and the provinces of Darién and Veraguas.
Precisely, the ESRI Panama account manager, Óscar Vega, mentioned that this platform facilitates the work that MIDES and the Service Provider Organizations have done, with digital and technological tools for a year.
“We have a centralized portal for the integration of information from the Cuidarte Program for the entry of different foundations and organizations. Here you can find the operational manual on how each of the forms works on the devices, a summary of what the Cuidarte Program is about and where it is being carried out geographically, serving 1,200 boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 36 months,” he said. .
It is worth mentioning that, in July of last year, MIDES signed a contract with the United Fund of Panama, Nutre Hogar and the Athens Foundation for the development of the pilot plan.