Local Planning and Budgeting for Children
The Decentralization Act of 1999 devolved many functions from central government agencies to local authorities, including many related to promoting an improved quality of life. This meant that the provision of social welfare, sports, disaster prevention and relief, public safety, and education, especially early childhood education, would be managed by local authorities. The Decentralization Act also called for a large proportion of the budget that was previously allocated to the line ministries to be given to the local authorities for their operations.
As a result, local authorities have become important duty bearers for children, and they now have the role of ensuring that the rights of children in their community are met. However, this role is new to most local officials, and in many cases the issues affecting children have not yet been considered in local plans.
A local plan that responds to the need vulnerable children and women requires local officials with both clear vision and commitment, as well as cooperation among different sectors within the community. The process of local planning for children can empower the community to find their own sustainable solutions for issues facing their children and help reduce disparities.
What we do
UNICEF Thailand and the Department of Local Administration (DLA), Ministry of Interior work together to strengthen the capacities of selected local authorities in 25 priority provinces, mainly those provinces either along or near borders with neighbouring countries. The goal of the partnership is to strengthen the capacity of all local authorities in planning and budgeting for children so that they can take appropriate action to ensure the survival, development, protection and participation rights of all children in their jurisdictional areas.
The local capacity building process employs multi-sectoral approaches. Curriculum was developed in collaboration with leading Thai and international universities on rights-based local planning for children, and training conducted for local policy makers, local officials and key stakeholders, including children and youth. Together, they are a multi-sectoral team, and become functioning mechanisms or catalysts for planning and action for children at the local level.
Promoting positive family practices is another aspect of our work. We help parents understand what their children need to survive and develop to their full potential. For example, through UNICEF’s flagship publication, Facts for Life, we provide families and officials with essential information related to childbearing, child survival and child development to help ensure that children get the best start in life. UNICEF also supports the training of local change agents to effectively disseminate key child development information at the local level, and to implement effective behaviour change interventions, by using Communication for Development (C4D) principle and participatory approach.
Our Goals for 2007-2011
• Sub-districts in 25 priority provinces can use multi-sectoral approaches to develop local plans for children, with sufficient budget allocated for their implementation in the local areas.