UNICEF support to education programme has been successful at getting children back into school. Latest figures show that 147,154 children are enrolled in primary school; (92 per cent of the 160,000 children enrolled in academic year 1998/9) at 686 schools.
The final teacher incentives for February were paid on 22 March to 125 teachers in the Ambeno (Oecussi) enclave. This completed the payment of cash incentives to 6,382 primary school teachers in East Timor for February. UNICEF is negotiating with UNTAET concerning future responsibilities for incentives and payments.
Reports from five districts indicate that 15 primary schools have been rehabilitated by Interfet and PKF troops, the US Navy and local communities.
600 school-in-a-box kits for children were distributed to priority schools in all districts. A supplementary distribution of blackboards, blackboard paint, and more than 130,000 sets of pens, pencils and notebooks, was also made.
Teachers in districts of East Timor are currently being interviewed to identify candidates for a teacher training course to be held in April. This will be the first phase of a six-stage process which will benefit a majority of teachers across the country.
Rehabilitation of the warehouse which will become the central pharmacy for East Timor has been completed, and the first shipment of basic drugs, ordered through JICA, arrived on 20 March. The warehouse will be opened by SRSG Sergio Vieira de Mello in the presence of Xanana Gusmao, President of the CNRT, on 3 April.
150 mosquito nets were supplied to UNTAET in Liquica district for the use of malaria patients.
Water and environmental sanitation (WES)
In Dili district, UNICEF teams of engineers have installed 493 handpumps to date. Implementation is ongoing in Manatuto and Ermera districts where disinfection of wells, installation of handpumps and repairs on pipe systems are being carried out by Action Contre la Faim (ACF) with material and logistics support from UNICEF.
Hygiene kits specially prepared for children aged under two years were distributed in the Dili area as part of a participatory discussion at the village level with pregnant women and mothers with infants. In the first discussion, held by ETSA and supported by UNICEF, 46 hygiene kits were distributed.
A hygiene promotion event was staged at the Komoro Child and Youth Centre, a UNICEF-supported child-friendly space in Dili. Children drew pictures based on hygiene messages and were addressed by the UNICEF WES officer. One thousand hygiene kits were distributed to children enrolled at the centre.
Child rights and protection
Further discussions were held on 22 and 23 March with the District Administrator of the Ambeno enclave, NGO and youth group representatives on the viability of opening a child-friendly centre in the enclave and of supporting youth activities. UNTAET agreed to rehabilitate a pre-school to use as the child-friendly space.
A meeting was held with the SRSG to discuss child protection. The SRSG confirmed his confidence in UNICEF continuing to address this issue on behalf of the UN in East Timor.
For more information on UNICEF, visit its web site at http://www.unicef.org