Rocío Medina, IDB Representative in Venezuela, the winner Berna Iskandar and IDB´s Social Protection Specialist, Xiomara Alemán.

Rocío Medina, IDB Representative in Venezuela, the winner Berna Iskandar and IDB´s Social Protection Specialist, Xiomara Alemán.

Her analysis of the physical punishment of children and the controversies generated by this issue at both the political and social level has allowed Venezuelan Berna Iskandar to be selected as the winner from among more than 125 participants in the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) 2013 Blogger Contest, which addresses the topic of child development.

Last Thursday, Berna received the award at the IDB office in Venezuela, where Representative Rocío Medina congratulated her on this recognition and highlighted the content of her article “Spanking at the Right Time,” which won Berna this international competition featuring entries from 17 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

During the event, the author expressed gratitude for the award and acknowledged that “the fact that an institution as important as the IDB is opening up a space for reflection and support of early childhood development seems fundamental and substantive.”

“We need to understand, once and for all, that there’s no such thing as spanking at the right time in order to teach children, but there are parents and adults who need guidance on how to raise and teach their children manners without mistreating them. No matter how you look at it, this approach to our children is ethically unacceptable, whether you get the expected result at some point or not,” said the author of the text.

The event, organized by the Bank’s Division of Social Protection and Health, was also attended by representatives of the Instituto Autónomo Consejo Nacional de Derechos de Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes (National Institute for the Rights of Children and Adolescents – IDENA), as well as the organizations Venezuela Sin Límites and REDSOC, belonging to the Civil Society Advisory Councils (CSACs), and staff at the Bank’s office in Venezuela.

This contest was held by the IDB’s Division of Social Protection and Health through its First Steps blog, which specializes in the topic of early childhood development and the importance of investing in this stage for the development of countries within the framework of the social strategy for children ages 0 to 3.

Other topics covered on the blog include successful interventions in the area of child development, lessons learned in different countries, and public policy issues being discussed within the region. Through this dialogue, we look to generate knowledge and awareness of the importance of the topic.

For the IDB, childhood is a crucial stage for learning, health and the future nutrition of every child. The economic benefits of high quality child development programs are up to 19 times greater than their costs, which means more education, better jobs and better health for children who attend them. And for society, that means greater well-being, productivity and economic growth.

The finalists from five countries:

As part of the contest, the jury also gave awards to five finalists of different nationalities for their articles covering various aspects of child development. The list of finalists and their articles is as follows:

  • Francisca Jordan (Trinidad and Tobago): “Solutions for Trinidad and Tobago
  • Ángeles Destefano (Argentina): “Reassessing the Value of Mothers”
  • Karina Tejada (Chile): “Those Forgotten and Re-discovered in Early Childhood Education”
  • Laura Valadez (Mexico): “Child Poverty in Mexico: The Challenges Ahead”
  • Ivon Valencia (Colombia): “It’s Time to Gain Confidence!”

As set forth in the contest guidelines, all articles had to be written in one of the IDB’s official languages (Spanish, English, Portuguese or French), with a maximum length of 600 words. The first of the finalists’ articles is already available on the First Steps blog, and the remaining articles will be published on the site, with a new post from a finalist every two weeks.

Interview of the winner (in Spanish)

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