UNICEF designates Kutaisi with a Child Friendly City Candidate Status
The Child Friendly Cities Initiative encourages local governments to pay greater attention to meeting the rights of their youngest citizens
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Kutaisi, Georgia, 1 February, 2023. Kutaisi municipality moved to the next level of the Child Friendly Cities Initiative process – qualifying as a Candidate City. The CFCI Candidate status was delivered to the Mayor of Kutaisi, Mr. Ioseb Khakhaleishvili by UNICEF Representative in Georgia, Dr. Ghassan Khalil.
In September 2020 Kutaisi joined 3000 cities and local communities in over 40 countries as the first city in Georgia in the Child Friendly City Initiative (CFCI), supported by UNICEF. The initiative outlined specific actions and milestones for Kutaisi to become a Child Friendly City.
Within the framework of the cooperation between UNICEF and Kutaisi municipality, a situational analysis of child rights protection was conducted with high participation of children and families with children, as well as professionals working with children and service providers. A report reflecting the findings and recommendations of the situational analysis was prepared. The municipality developed the child friendly city strategy of Kutaisi 2022-2025 and the action plan, based on the findings of the situational analysis.
Kutaisi municipality organized focus groups and discussions with children and young people, to guarantee a consultative format and reflect children’s opinions in the developed documents.
On its way to becoming the CFCI Candidate City, Kutaisi implemented a number of positive changes as per its child-friendly action plan:
- The city supported all kindergartens in the municipality with the trainings on child rights in coordination with the Child Rights Center established by UNICEF at the Kutaisi Akaki Tsereteli State University.
- The Child Protection and Support Unit of the municipality created a space for provision of psychologist services. The space was renovated and equipped with UNICEF support. Among other services, the unit enables beneficiaries inclusion into positive parenting training sessions.
- The municipality increased its co-financing of health care services for children with particularly severe diseases and provided financial support for children with oncologic diagnosis. The city also increased access to rehabilitation programs for children with autism spectrum disorder.
- Kutaisi conducted a study of the unmet social needs of the families in the municipality, and developed two new sub-programmes according to the findings.
- To support homeless children and their families, municipality supports 24-hour shelter and a day center that operates in Kutaisi.
- The city established a Youth Advisory Council and increased funding for youth initiatives.
Building a child-friendly city is a continuous process and it includes advocacy and awareness-raising of child rights throughout government and society; enacting child-friendly laws and policies and assessing the impact of these on children; developing a city-wide strategic action plan with clear budget allocation and accountabilities for implementation; ensuring children get their fair share of resources; informing and involving children and youth and respecting their views and experiences; recognizing children and youth as partners and as individual human beings, rights-holders and equal, active citizens; cross-sectoral coordination and strategic partnerships to maximize the impact of child-friendly policies and programmes. Only after the successful implementation of the developed strategy and the plan of action, and meeting the recognition criteria, Kutaisi will officially be recognized as a Child Friendly City.
The Child Friendly Cities Initiative is a UNICEF-led initiative that supports municipal governments in realizing the rights of children at the local level, using the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as its foundation. It is also a network which brings together government and other partners, such as civil society organizations, the private sector, academia, media and, importantly, children themselves who wish to make their cities and communities more child friendly.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/georgia/