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8 February 2021

UNICEF Australia and Livingstone International today announced a new partnership that will support early childhood development programs for Indigenous children living in remote communities in the Northern Territory and reach some of Australia’s most vulnerable children.

In partnership with local community organisations, UNICEF Australia is working to break down barriers to early childhood development services and work with parents and local communities to provide children with the best start in life. Children who have access to health, nutrition and learning opportunities before they begin school show sustained improvements in cognitive, language and psychosocial development. The program recognises the essential, interlinked building blocks for the early years: health care, good hygiene, optimal nutrition, and a stimulating, nurturing and safe environment for all-round development and learning.

Contributing $100,000 a year for 3 years, the partnership between Livingstone International and UNICEF Australia will support a program that will help to improve the development, health and learning opportunities for children in some of the country’s most under-resourced, and hardest to reach communities.

With a focus on empowering local community groups and parents, this locally developed and locally led program supported by UNICEF Australia and Livingstone International aims to:

  • Improve access to health care and advocate for good hygiene practices during COVID-19
  • Remove nutrition barriers to enable children to thrive
  • Reduce the risk of children developing chronic diseases
  • Facilitate early childhood learning for children to improve school readiness 

As a community-led initiative, the program will also support local employment and training for Indigenous women through building local staff capacity through mentoring, skills development and formal qualifications.

“Young Aboriginal children living in rural areas of Australia are more likely to face barriers in accessing early childhood development programs, missing a crucial chance to lay strong foundations for their futures,” said Tony Stuart, CEO of UNICEF Australia. “With partners like Livingstone International we are able to reach more children and we are hugely grateful for their support.”

UNICEF Australia is entirely reliant on voluntary donations from the public and private sector to deliver long-term, sustainable change for children locally and worldwide, and welcomes Livingstone International’s commitment to this program.

“We are delighted to be partnering with UNICEF Australia to deliver this critical program,” said Ivan Paulus, Vice President of Livingstone International. “Through COVID-19 we have had the opportunity to work with the team at UNICEF Australia to equip the most vulnerable with PPE supplies. We now look forward to extending our partnership to deliver sustainable and real impact to Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory.”