Monitoring and communicating child rights
At the heart of UNICEF’s work is safeguarding the rights of children. The organisation is guided in this mission by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Convention is based on four core principles: non-discrimination; the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival and development; and taking into account children’s views in decisions that affect them, depending on age and maturity. UNICEF is working to ensure that child rights are understood and respected throughout Romanian society.
Child Rights Monitoring
Through its Child Rights Monitoring Programme (CRM), UNICEF is seeking to develop instruments and mechanisms that can help find where child rights are being violated and understand why – vital if the resources available to combat exclusion and promote rights are to be deployed efficiently. Monitoring child rights involves ways to analyse data accurately, interpreting it in relation to rural/urban and regionaldisparities, age and sex. In partnership with the Federation of NGOs for Child Protection, monitoring instrumentshave beendevised for birth registration, education and poverty and work isongoingon health and welfare, special protection and the family environment and alternative protection measures. This is in line with the recommendations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, in particular the Concluding Observations of the 51st session held in June 2009.
Impact of the crisis
The global economic crisis is having a drastic effect on Romania, with children and the vulnerable often the hardest hit, through for example increased poverty, greater unemployment and gaps in medical treatment due to budgetary cuts. A key plank of UNICEF’s work is monitoring the impact of the crisis on children and moving to alleviate it, for whichUNICEF worked with the World Bank. One tool we are using is the Sentinel Monitoring System, which provides real-time information on the impact of the crisis. With this data, UNICEF helped central and local government address the most critical cases of vulnerable children and their families.
The media is a major tool in UNICEF’s work. Media reports on TV, the radio and in the print press contain a lot of information about the situation and perception of children in Romania, which we can use to analyse problems and attitudes. Another aspect of media monitoring is to know what coverage UNICEF itself is getting in the local press and how the organisation is perceived by the general public. Donations from members of the publicmake up a vital part of UNICEF’s funding, so the right type of media coverage is essential for the organisation to be able to carry out effective and efficient fundraising.