Participatory planning through social mapping
UNICEF is pleased to be supporting Nalaikh district in its initiative to build a Child-Friendly Community. As part of this initiative, a participatory planning exercise was carried out in the 7th khoroo (neighbourhood) on 5-7 March, 2013, with the active involvement of community mobilisers, social workers and the khoroo Governor.
The planning exercise used a new social mapping tool, which helps local residents to assess availability of local social services and identify community priority issues that impact on children. Through this joint planning, the residents were able to discuss and better understand their common problems and actively seek solutions. Participants were able to discuss the ways how their khoroo could become a more child-friendly and citizen-friendly community.
One community mobilizer said that it became clear during the planning exercise that “we do not actually know the things that seem most familiar to us and we realised that many projects, programmes and government policies dedicated to the citizens often fail to pinpoint the actual needs and problems of the people”. For instance, they pointed to one case in which a motor road was built in the khoroo, but no sidewalk considered, which meant that local children had to walk on the road to get to school each day. This was particularly concerning because there had been several traffic accidents in the past in which children and adults were injured or killed. The group also identified that the neighbourhood was badly lit in some areas, and that the street lights installed during the elections had never been connected to electricity. Furthermore, they reported that a small number of local playgrounds had been built for children in the khoroo, but that children do not play in them because adults drink alcohol there due to the secluded location of the playgrounds.