Child Friendly Communities Initiative
For every child, a child friendly community
Romania is home to more than 3.6 million children who live across the country in 263 cities and towns, and in 2.685 communes with over 13.285 villages.
Despite significant progress in the last 30 years, almost 42% of all Romanian children continue to suffer disproportionately from poverty, poor access to services, exclusion and discrimination. These children are also more exposed to violence, separation from their families and placement in alternative care arrangements or special schools. Social and gender norms negatively affect their social inclusion as well as limiting their participation.
By improving access to health and social services at the community level and fostering access to early learning and to quality education, all children will benefit from breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty and exclusion and enjoy more inclusive development, opportunities and social inclusion.
When discrimination and negative social norms are addressed, Roma children and children with disabilities are part of and contribute in the community.
The actions, or inactions, of government impact children more strongly than any other group in society.
Through U-Report and Children's Board, UNICEF consulted children on how their communities should be like.
Children want mayors and local councils to be more involved in ensuring the material conditions of the schools where they study, to expand green spaces in their communities, but also to ensure the transport of students.
- 30% of survey participants believe that they should be consulted by the authorities through dedicated applications such as U-Report, 25% thought that the actions taken by children should receive the support of the authorities, 24% said that they should be represented in the local council, and 21% want to be informed about the actions taken.
- 42% of children and adolescents want local authorities to ensure sanitary conditions in the schools where they study. One third want the mayors to keep their school in a good condition and 1 in 5 children wants the authorities to provide spaces for leisure and sports.
- The mayor and the local council should provide lunch at school, say 38% of the respondents and another 35% want the mayor's office and local councils to promote extracurricular activities.
- In order to facilitate the access of all children to school, almost half of the respondents want the mayor and the local council to provide school transport or to cover the costs of this transport.
- 1 in 5 children believes that local authorities should support health education.
- Regarding the area in which they live, children who responded to the survey believe that local authorities should ensure safety and maintain infrastructure (35%), maintain and expand social spaces (20%), and organize social and cultural events, with an emphasis on mental health and environmental protection (17%). The rest of the respondents want the promotion of activities for children and young people, but also the maintenance and expansion of green spaces.
The Child Friendly Cities Initiative (CFCI) 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 that brings together government and other stakeholders 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.
The initiative was launched in 1996 by UNICEF and UN-Habitat to act on the resolution passed during the second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) to make cities livable places for all. The UN Conference declared that the wellbeing of children is the ultimate indicator of a healthy habitat, a democratic society and of good governance. Today, the CFCI reaches up to 30 million children in 38 countries.
In Romania, UNICEF launches this concept by proposing to local authorities and all other local stakeholders to engage in the process of transforming their town or village into a child-friendly community and provides those interested with a set of minimum criteria for fulfillment, technical assistance to start such a process and a mechanism for assessing progress and, finally, for certifying the status of Child Friendly Community.
Minimum conditions for a locality to be certified as a Child Friendly Community 1 Every child and young person is valued, respected and treated fairly within their communities and by local authorities. 2 Every child and young person has the right to have his or her voice heard and took into consideration in public policies, budgets and programmes and in decisions affecting their life. 3 Every child and young person has access to quality basic social services: protection, medical, education, nutritional support, development and early education, justice and family support. 4 Every child and young person lives in a safe, secure and clean environment, without the risk of violence and abuse, with access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, a safe urban design that meets the needs of the child, mobility and the absence of pollution and waste. 5 Every child and young person has opportunities to enjoy family life, play and free time: social and cultural activities and safe places to meet friends and play.