Children’s rights are a practical part of a child’s everyday experiences. UNICEF Australia supports communities to protect the rights of children in their daily lives.
Child Friendly Cities and Communities
UNICEF child friendly cities encourage the active participation of children in their communities and the inclusion of children experiencing vulnerability and discrimination.
Launched 20 years ago, the UNICEF child friendly cities initiative was the first partnership in the world to put children at the centre of the local government agenda. It calls on communities and cities to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child at the local level.
In a child friendly city, the rights of children are reflected in policies, laws, programs and budgets. Children are active agents, and their voices and opinions are taken into consideration and influence decision-making processes.
Worldwide, the UNICEF Child Friendly Cities framework is adapted to suit different cultures and contexts. Various recurrent themes have emerged internationally, including child friendly urban design, natural environments, independent mobility, health and wellbeing, open spaces and recreation, children’s participation and educational outcomes.
Child Friendly South Australia
From 2013 to 2015, UNICEF Australia partnered with the South Australia Government Department of Education and Child Development and three communities to implement a child friendly cities pilot.
As is practice around the world, the Child Friendly South Australia (CFSA) model was adapted to be relevant to the local context, informed by the practice and priorities of local government and community partners.
CFSA includes six community focus areas for children and young people:
- Active Participation
- Play and Leisure
UNICEF Australia supported Child Friendly South Australia to ensure children experiencing vulnerability are included in decision making and can overcome barriers to inclusion they may experience. In turn, there is great opportunity for government and community to benefit from the knowledge, wisdom and strength of children from diverse cultural and social experiences.
How to become child friendly
The South Australian Government, Local Government Association and UNICEF Australia have developed the following resources to support local councils and communities to be able to implement their own self-guided child friendly initiatives:
Download Children’s Voices Connecting Communities – Introduction to Child Friendly SA
Download The Child Friendly SA Implementation Guide – A step by step guide to becoming child friendly
Founding Partners who worked with UNICEF Australia and the South Australian Government include Campbelltown City Council, the Town of Gawler and the City of Onkaparinga.
These tools are self-guided so that all local councils and communities nationally can identify and implement ways in which to become child friendly and include children in local governance. UNICEF Australia does not provide accreditation.
Find more information or advice from Child Friendly SA partners.
Baby Friendly Health Initiative
UNICEF believes breastfeeding provides babies with the best start to life, and provides all the nutrients they need for their first six months of life. Research shows that babies who are fed in this way are therefore less likely to suffer a range of serious illnesses during infancy and childhood.
The Baby Friendly Health Initiative promotes and protects breastfeeding, as well as best practice care for mothers and babies, around the world, through community and maternity facilities. In Australia, UNICEF supports the Australian College of Midwives
to manage and implement the Baby Friendly Health Initiative (BFHI).
Working with schools
UNICEF also works with children and young people in schools. We undertake consultations with students in schools to ensure that our work is informed by the voices of children and young people themselves. Schools also have the opportunity to take action for UNICEF through raising funds and awareness of our work with children around the world. We also have resources which have been developed for teachers to use in classrooms.
To use any of UNICEF's teaching resources, visit http://teachunicef.org/
Sign up to regular updates to keep informed about events, school-based workshops & campaigns, new child rights educational resources and opportunities for young people to participate in consultations or join UNICEF Australia in our advocacy work by contacting us at [email protected].