“What can local authorities do to make your city more friendly to children and youth?”
U-Reporters from all over Greece respond
A poll titled “What can local authorities do to make your city more friendly to children and youth?” run on UNICEF’s U-Report Greece platform from 5 April to 10 May 2022.
545 out of 588 U-Reporters participated in the poll, corresponding to a 97% response rate. Most of the respondents (53%) were between the ages of 15-19, while 19% were below 15 years old. Girls were more active than boys, representing more than half (53%) of the respondents. The top region the participants came from was Attica, followed by Thessaly and Central Macedonia.
According to the results, more than half of U-Reporters(55%) that participated in the poll wish to be involved in decision-making processes at the local level through dedicated online applications. The participation through Municipal Youth Councils came second at their preferences with 24% stating its importance. Traffic/road safety is considered by 15% one of the biggest challenges in their cities, along with the lack of playgrounds and sports facilities (16%).
Other challenges identified by UReporters in their cities include inadequate school buildings (12%), whereas 12% of respondents mentioned other challenges such as: ‘disrespect of basic human rights (eg LGBTI)’, ‘lack of infrastructure for children with disabilities, ‘non-preservation of historic neighborhoods and buildings’, ‘low standard conditions of living and lack of opportunities for cultural and social development' etc.
Furthermore, 46% of the respondents recognize that reforestation, recycling and environmental protection activities are the most important actions that local authorities can take to ensure a safe, secure and clean environment for children and young people, followed by a 24% that considers the measures to prevent crime and violence also an extremely crucial element.
Both art, music and dance activities (32%), at low or no cost, and the renovation or creation of new playground and sports facilities (31%) are considered by the participants almost equally important to ensure that children and young people have sufficient opportunities to rest, relax, play and participate in cultural and recreative activities. A 20% of respondents also opted for social and cultural events at low or no cost for children and youth.
Responding to the question about the importance of quality care and education services, 28% stressed the need of the local authorities to adequately maintain public school buildings and surroundings, while 22% replied that extracurricular activities, at low or no cost, should also be provided. Other respondents (15%) would like more programs for the distribution of food and basic goods to children in need, as well as parenting skills-building programs and free school transportation provided by the municipal authorities (13%).
In terms of actions that local authorities can take to ensure that young people are protected from violence, abuse and neglect, the implementation of awareness-raising campaigns against violence and abuse (27%) and capacity-building of school teachers and parents on how to prevent and deal with bullying (24%) are considered important by more than half of the respondents. In addition, 20% of U-Reporters would like local authorities to build the capacity of all municipal social workers on how to prevent violence against children and implement child protection measures.
Regarding the access to adequate healthcare, 42% of the respondents believe that local authorities should offer mental health services at low or no cost to children and youth, while 25% recognize the importance of programmes to adequately inform children and youth about their sexual and reproductive health and rights. Also, 22% chose that local authorities should implement programmes for the prevention of drug and alcohol abuse for children and youth. Finally, the promotion of physical exercise through cycling and outdoor gyms (30%) followed by the provision of healthy meals at schools (25%) and the creation of municipal spaces where children can learn how to cultivate fruits and vegetables (24%) were considered as the most important actions that local authorities can take to ensure access to adequate nutrition.
The results of the poll will be shared with municipal authorities and will inform the development of action plans by "Child Friendly Cities Initiative" candidate municipalities, including Athens, Larisa, Trikala, Pilea-Chortiatis and Eastern Samos.
Υοy can see the full first poll results' analysis here.