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Costa Rica: Cantones Amigos de la Infancia
In 2008, as part of the 2008-2012 Country Programme, the Costa Rica UNICEF Country Office has launched the Cantones Amigos de la Infancia (Child Friendly Counties) initiative. Working in partnership with the national government, local authorities, local NGOs and existing children/youth groups, UNICEF has initially targeted 14 vulnerable communities, but is planned to include other 11 priority counties and eventually stretch it to the other 70 counties in Costa Rica. The main goal of the initiative is to strengthen the capacities and actions of institutions and social actors at the local level, creating a protective environment for children and adolescents. Municipal governments are expected to lead this process and articulate the different dimensions of a protective environment (attitudes, traditions, customs, behavior and practices which don’t facilitate abuse; governmental commitment to fulfilling protection rights; open discussion and engagement with child protection issues; protective legislation and enforcement; capacity to protect among those around children; children’s life skills, knowledge and participation; monitoring and reporting of child protection issues; services for recovery and reintegration). The strategy includes: development of local plans of action; promotion of child friendly legislation; creation and strengthening of child participation; strengthening of protection systems; establishment of monitoring mechanisms on children’s rights; capacity building and strengthening of institutions. As part of the initiative, a set of monitoring indicators has been developed and used by UNICEF Office as well as counties involved in a self-assessment process.
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