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Advocating for a Child-Friendly Approach
An Activity in Two Parts: Facts & Reflection

You might wonder why UNICEF believes a child-friendly approach is so important. You could read articles defending this position, but the following activity was created to help you decide for yourself.

First, read through the facts listed on this page. If you find them compelling enough reasons, we encourage you to complete the second part of this activity: Personal Reflection & Goal-Setting. This interactive process will help you define goals you can pursue to make the world a more child-friendly place.

Part 1: Uncovering the Facts

Even in countries where enrolments are increasing, children may find that their chance to receive an education is limited or non-existent.

At least 130 million children of primary school age are not in school. Of these children, roughly two thirds are girls.

The number of working children in the developing world (aged 5-14) has reached 250 million. About 60 percent of these working children are in Asia, with 32 percent in Africa. About half of them, 120 million children, work full time.

Access to clean water and sanitary facilities remains a luxury in many places.

In both developing and industrialised countries, children cope daily with street violence, pressure to use drugs, and sexual exploitation and abuse. They work long hours at jobs that are often damaging to their health, without the opportunity for rest and education.

There are many countries where large populations of children, and girls in particular, are already victims of HIV/AIDS. In 1997, there were 590,000 new cases of HIV infection and 460,000 cases of death due to AIDS reported among the 0-15 age group.

HIV/AIDS has also orphaned over 8.2 million children aged 6 to 12, with many of these orphans assuming responsibilities for even younger children. In Zambia, for example, children head an estimated 11 percent of households.

In some parts of the world, children of school age face conscription into the armed forces, torture, unjust punishment, imprisonment and lack of legal guarantees.

In the past decade, an estimated 2 million children were killed during armed conflicts, while 6 million were injured or even permanently disabled. Over 1 million were separated from their families and 12 million were left homeless.

In 1997, there were 50 million refugees and "internally displaced persons," with an estimated 50 percent of these children.

Children's environments are contaminated by more than 110 million landmines in over 68 countries, with mines in fields, temples, and even schools. These mines kill or maim 26,000 people every year. Children make up roughly 45 percent of those victims.

Four main areas are covered by the 54 articles of the Conventions on the Rights of the Child:
    - Survival rights
    - Developmental rights
    - Protection rights
    - Participation rights

Countries that ratify the Convention agree to be legally bound by its provisions.

If you agree that making an increased effort to support the rights of children is important, go on to Part 2: Personal Reflection & Goal-Setting. If you would like to read the sources of the above facts, they are listed below.


The following documents are located on the main UNICEF Web site. An Internet connection is required to access them.

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Last revised September, 2002
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