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25 years on, children in Chernobyl affected areas still need our care and attention

© UNICEF/Ukraine/2011/S.Prokhorov
Children in the Family Centre, Tsyptsevichy village, Rivne obl.

Child Friendly City/Territory Initiative in Chornobyl-affected Areas

Twenty-five years ago the Chernobyl nuclear accident dramatically changed the lives of the people living in the nearby areas. These days, however, families living in Chernobyl-affected areas can enjoy a normal healthy life and give birth to healthy children. What these families most of all need now is a restored sense of community, access to quality basic services, and development and recreational opportunities for their children – it was emphasized by the participants of the international conferences and forums dedicated to Chernobyl catastrophe organized in Kyiv in April 2011.

UNICEF addresses the needs of the families living in Chernobyl-affected areas by focusing its activities on supporting a healthy lifestyle for children, women and families.

© UNICEF/Ukraine/2011/S.Prokhorov
Girls at the Child Advisory Boards, Ripky, Chernigiv oblast

In 2006 Child Friendly City Initiative in Ukraine was piloted to cover 3 municipalities in Lviv oblast (Chervonograd, Drohobych, and Vynnyky) and 3 in Sumy oblast (Trostyanets, Romny, and Lebedyn). In 2008 the Initiative was geographically expanded to cover 4 more municipalities (Zhovkva in Lviv Oblast and Krolevets, Shostka and Bilopillya in Sumy oblast). The Initiative brought a lot of tangible results for children through development of local programmes for children, allocation of local budget resources and implementation of the programmes. Each municipality has developed a programme based on the thorough assessment of the situation of children and overall local economic and social context.

Given the positive results and interest generated by the Initiative among local governments a new round of the Initiative was launched in 2010 in Chornobyl-affected areas with support of the European Union. The Initiative covered Korosten, Sarny, Berezne and Ripky. Development, adoption and implementation of the local Child Friendly City/Territory strategies and programmes with particular emphasis on the health needs of children has been the main outcome of the implementation of the Initiative in 2010 - 2011. This result was attained as a consequence of activities aimed at assessment of the local situation, sensitization of the local governments to child rights issues, support to development and adoption of the local programmes, development of Local Coordination Councils and Child Advisory Boards, strengthening partnerships for children, and coverage of the Initiative in mass media. The Initiative contributes to consolidation of the efforts of local governments, private sector and NGOs to improve the situation of children and families in Chornobyl-affected areas with special emphasis on the health needs of children.

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Editor’s Note: A Child Friendly City/Territory is a local system of good governance committed to fulfilling children’s rights. A Child Friendly City/Territory is actively engaged in fulfilling the right of children to express their opinion and influence decisions about their city; participate in family, community, and social life; receive quality healthcare and education services; be protected from exploitation, violence and abuse; and be an equal citizen of their city/territory with access to social services regardless of ethnic origin, religion, income, gender, or disability.

About UNICEF: The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 150 countries to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. UNICEF opened its office in Kyiv in 1997. More information about UNICEF activities in Ukraine at

For further information please contact:
Yulia Yurova, Communication Officer, UNICEF Kyiv,
Sergiy Prokhorov, Communication Assistant, UNICEF Kyiv,



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