Children and the urban landscape: building the evidence and a knowledge agenda for UNICEF in West and Central Africa

Faced with increasing rates of urbanization (the overall urbanization level in West and Central Africa will be 41.7% by 2020), the West and Central Africa Regional Office (WCARO) has started a research initiative to support Country Offices in understanding the nature and impact of poverty, vulnerability and exclusion on the well-being of children in urban contexts. For this purpose, based on existing knowledge and research undertaken in the region, a paper was developed; it recommends a new multi-dimensional approach and the use of the causality analysis to understand the multiplicity of the factors affecting children’s right to survival and development in urban areas. The document includes a summary of evidence building and knowledge products regarding the situation of children in urban areas, and an overview of some of the most innovative research methodologies developed and/or used by UNICEF and other institutions within the region in the last 10 years. Furthermore, it provides a research and analysis framework to orient UNICEF staff in the formulation of research hypotheses and in the identification of the most appropriate methodologies for generation of knowledge. Finally, the WCARO designed and established an “urbanization” page on its UNICEF intranet site ( – only accessible to UNICEF users).


Sarah Martelli (Programme Planning Specialist, WCARO, Senegal)

Telephone: 221 33 869 58 58 Ext. 649


Initiative from the past – no longer active

Etude de l’Equité et de l’accès à des soins de qualité en milieu urbain dans cinq capitales de l’Afrique de l’Ouest: Abidjan, Bamako, Conakry, Dakar and Niamey.
Launched in 1997, the Study of Equity and Access to Quality Care in Urban Environment in five capitals of West Africa Project stems from collaboration between the UNICEF Regional Office for West and Central Africa and the French Co-operation. It aims to improve equity and access to quality health care in urban areas, especially for the poorest and has three phases: action-research; operational activities; and evaluation. A regional report is available: an analytical synthesis of the studies of the three sections of the action-research phase, namely: socio-economic, socio-anthropologist and quality of health care. The report has been prepared on the basis of survey data from the five capital cities and a review of literature on quality, equity and effectiveness of health care in the urban environment across the continent. The proposed strategies for improving the quality and equity of health care in the urban environment are based on positive experiences in some countries of the sub-region, within a framework of reform of the health system. Short-term goals include: further study of the health care access issues of the poor in urban environments; strategies to improve their access to health care; the quality of care; and giving the poor ownership of programmes. Long-term goals include: implementing proposed strategies to increase access and quality of care and improving effectiveness and coordination of external supports to health development in urban environment.

Sophie Schapman
UNICEF/West Africa
Boite Postal 443
04 Republique Cote d’Ivoire
Telephone: (225) 20 21 22 68
Fax: (225) 20 22 76 07