The Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA) today (February 4), launched its website, www.ocajamaica.com, which will serve as an additional public education and advocacy tool.
Speaking at the launch, which was held at the Institute of Jamaica, in downtown, Kingston, Children’s Advocate, Mrs. 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 clock away,” Mrs. Clarke told the gathering.
Children’s Advocate, Mrs. Mary Clarke (2nd right), observes as United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Representative in Jamaica, Mr. Robert Fuderich (left), is greeted by Assistant General Manager of Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), Mr. Llewelyn Bailey (right), at the launch of the Office of the Children’s Advocate’s website at the Institute of Jamaica, downtown, Kingston, today (February 4). Second left is Dr. A.G. Hamilton Taylor from the Department of Computing at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus, who was guest speaker.
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. Meanwhile, she informed that the OCA will, in the near future, be expanding and creating activities that parents and teachers can use to educate children about their rights.
Mrs. Clarke said the agency also hopes to provide downloadable forms on the website, so that persons can lodge complaints electronically, or by fax. She assured that the website will be regularly monitored and updated, to ensure that the information is current.
Representative of UNICEF in Jamaica, Mr. 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.
Children’s Advocate, Mrs. Mary Clarke (2nd left), and Assistant General Manager of Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), Mr. Llewelyn Bailey (right), observe as Shaunte Swaby (left) and Anjanique Nelson of Windward Road Primary and Junior High School take their first look at the Office of the Children’s Advocate’s website on a computer that was later presented to them by JNBS for their achievements in the Junior Schools Challenge Quiz over the past three years. Occasion was the launch of the website at the Institute of Jamaica downtown, Kingston, today (February 4).
“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.
Mr. Fuderich commended the work of the OCA, pointing out that since its inception three years ago, public education consultations have exposed over 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.