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United Kingdom

UNICEF UK launches Child Friendly Communities initiative

© UNICEF UK/2009/
Evie Hull and other young people at the Article 12 Advisors Selection Day for Child Friendly Communities at UNICEF UK in November 2009.

NEW YORK, USA, 08 January 2010 – UNICEF UK’s new Child Friendly Communities initiative aims to realise and embed child rights at the local level throughout the UK, improving the well-being of children and young people. 

Evie Hull, 16, is one of six youth advisors for the UNICEF UK project. 

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A 2007 UNICEF report - ‘Child Poverty in Perspective:  An Overview of Child Well-being in Rich Countries' - measured and compared overall child well-being across six dimensions:  maternal well-being, health and safety, education, peer and family relationships, behaviours and risks, and young people’s subjective sense of their own well-being. Out of 21 industrialised countries in the report, the UK ranked worst overall when the indicators were aggregated together.

The Child Friendly Communities initiative was launched in part to try to address that finding, and to make children’s rights a reality in the UK.

Setting goals

UNICEF UK is developing a framework - and an accreditation, inspection and award scheme - for local authorities and their partner agencies across the UK to follow to become child-friendly communities.

“We want to integrate young people more into their communities, promote their achievements through local media… and make sure their voices are heard,” Evie said.

As advisors to UNICEF UK, Evie and her colleagues hope to work for better coverage of youth in the local media, more involvement of children and young people in decisions that affect them, and better opportunities for youth. They are in constant regular contact over email, and hope to have more detailed goals and objectives worked out by their next meeting in February 2010.

Big hopes for the future

Evie and her fellow youth advisors are hoping the project will make a difference in the UK, and then potentially take off from there.

“It’s really amazing to take a project from such a small space and see it grow and hopefully expand across the entire UK, and hopefully the rest of the world,” she said.

The project will be piloted in 12 areas across the UK over the next year – these include inner-city boroughs, towns and rural counties across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The project will be launched publicly in 2011 and rolled out across the UK.




Evie Hull, 16, speaks about being a youth advisor for UNICEF UK’s Child Friendly Communities initiative.
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