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The Child Friendly Municipalities initiative (MAN)
Interventions aiming at the realization of children’s rights at the local level emerged in the early 1990’s in the Dominican Republic, when the first Congress for Mayors Defenders of Children’s Rights was held in 1993. The Child Friendly Municipalities (MAN) initiative in the Dominican Republic was initiated in 1997 by UNICEF and the Dominican League of Municipalities. The initiative is an effort to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the national legislation on child protection (Law 136-03). According to the strategy, municipalities declare themselves “child friendly” based on several requirements, among them: the establishment of legal mechanisms included in Law 136-03; the formulation of a municipal programme on children’s rights; the development of a strategic plan of action on municipal development; the creation of mechanisms for effective participation of citizens and particularly children; the establishment of a specific department or unit dealing with child protection and a minimum investment of 5% on children. The self-declaration is the beginning of a process of engagement and continuous efforts and improvements that municipal administrations, organisations, the church, the private sector and the community have to promote to realise children’s rights. So far, 115 municipal settings (94 municipalities and 21 municipal districts) all over the country have joined the initiative and have declared themselves “child friendly”.
The initiative was the object of an evaluation in 2006. The assessment highlighted the strengths such as the establishment of governance structures recognizing children’s rights, the role of youth participation councils (10 are operational), capacity building efforts and participatory planning processes as well as participatory budget revisions. The evaluation also issued some recommendations, based on which the strategy is being redesigned. An agreement was signed between the National Children and Adolescents Council (CONANI), the Commission for State Reform (CONARE), the Dominican Municipalities’ Federation (FEDOMU) and the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development (SEEPYD). An inter-institutional committee was then established. In 2008, the Committee organised the first National Congress of Municipalities at which criteria for public investment, aimed at the implementation of Municipal Law 176-07, were approved. The new criteria for the MAN Initiative were presented at a workshop organised by the Technical Committee in June 2009.
For more information: http://www.unicef.org/republicadominicana/english/advocacy_partnerships_12453.htm
UNICEF Dominican Republic
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