Human rights underlie every aspect of UNICEF’s efforts – and our work with communities and families is no different. UNICEF uses participatory methods to help families and communities identify issues of concern, define viable solutions and develop their capacity to act on their decisions.

Our programmes of action involve families and communities in solving problems, and build on the value of this input to arrive at feasible actions. Our experience in designing and implementing development programmes has shown that meaningful stakeholder participation leads to lasting support for health and social interventions. It is this long-term community involvement that results in social change that advances children’s rights.

UNICEF is particularly concerned with ensuring that all stakeholders, including marginalized groups, are heard when development programmes are planned. We use innovative participatory approaches which help communities and families to reflect on the issues that face them and come up with actions that need to be taken. We engage in dialogue with communities to ensure that these concerns are taken into account in the development process.

Our partners at country level include governments, non-governmental organizations, organized community groups and families. To get support for health and social programmes, we help build alliances between these partners and the media, key community figures (such as religious and traditional leaders) and other groups. These strong relationships ensure that influential opinion leaders are directly involved in supporting community and household use of social and health services.

Through advocacy at global and country level, UNICEF assists countries in generating support from national and local leaders, partners, stakeholders and donors to mobilize the resources necessary to sustain health and social programmes.

Improving the rights of the child through changes in legislation, social norms and practices does not happen overnight. A holistic approach is essential in addressing this deep-rooted social challenge. That is why UNICEF’s efforts combine advocacy, partnerships with community groups and direct interventions to help families and communities adopt health and social practices that help fulfil children’s rights.