Child Friendly Cities Initiative | Cities Inspire Awards 2021 | 17 November 2021 8 a.m. EST / 2 p.m. CET

The Child Friendly Cities and Local Governments Inspire Awards are back in 2021!

The Child Friendly Cities and Local Governments Inspire Awards celebrate innovative and inspiring solutions or projects that foster child rights at the local level and improve the daily lives of children and young people in the cities and communities where they live.

This year, the awards were given in six categories. Hover over the icons to learn more.

Ensuring that every child and young person has their voice, needs and priorities heard and considered in public laws, policies, budgets and decisions

Safe and child-responsive urban design, mobility and freedom from pollution and waste, including action to mitigate the effects of climate change on children

Providing access to quality social services to children, young people and their families, including physical and mental health care, education, nutrition support, early childhood development, child protection and family support, and developing and providing child- and adolescent-friendly social services

Opportunities to enjoy play, leisure and family life, including social, cultural and sports activities, and access to safe places to meet and play

Redistributing and allocating public resources that benefit children and their families, especially the most disadvantaged children; assessment of child poverty in cities or local government settings; and social protection measures that support children cities or local government settings

Implementing an analysis to support the understanding of the situation of children and the major depravations they face; collecting data and ensuring local programmes, plans and budgets include child priorities; strengthening the transparency and accountability of use of public resources; and promoting children and young people’s participation in budget planning and oversight

The Inspire Awards celebrate the commitment of cities and communities to promote child rights. All entries conforming to the requirements, regardless of whether they are shortlisted, will be available on this website and published in an electronic booklet to inspire other local governments around the world to act.

How does it work?

The awards process has five phases:

  1. Submission of entries on the Inspire Awards website by 21 October 2021 at noon CET. Each entry consists of a short video and a completed case study template. All cities and communities can participate in the awards with several entries. However, each project can only be submitted to two categories. Applications that do not conform to the requirements will be disqualified. Click to see criteria for review.
  2. Assessment of entries by expert panels. Three entries from each category will be shortlisted for public voting. Shortlisted candidates contacted by 30 October 2021 and will receive video editing support.
  3. Public vote for shortlisted inspiring practices on the Inspire Awards website. The voting is now closed, and winners will be announced on 17 November. Click here to see the finalists.
  4. Virtual event on 17 November 2021 at 8 a.m. EST/2 p.m. CET to celebrate the work of cities and local governments. Includes inspiring interventions by mayors from child-friendly cities and local governments across the world, child rights champions and children and young people, and for the announcement of the winners of the six category awards. Click here to watch the Awards Ceremony Livestream.
  5. World Children’s Day on 20 November 2021 with cities in celebration of the anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

1. Submission of entries on the Inspire Awards website by 21 October 2021 at noon CET. Each entry consists of a short video and a completed case study template. All cities and communities can participate in the awards with several entries. However, each project can only be submitted to two categories. Applications that do not conform to the requirements will be disqualified. Click to see criteria for review.

2. Assessment of entries by expert panels. Three entries from each category will be shortlisted for public voting. Shortlisted candidates will be contacted by 30 October 2021 and will receive video editing support.

3. Public vote for shortlisted inspiring practices on the Inspire Awards website. The voting is now closed, and winners will be announced on 17 November. Click here to see the finalists.

4. Virtual event on 17 November 2021 at 8 a.m. EST/2p.m. CET to celebrate the work of cities and local governments. Includes inspiring interventions by mayors from child-friendly cities and local governments across the world, child rights champions and children and young people, and for the announcement of the winners of the six category awards. Click here to watch the Awards Ceremony Livestream.

5. World Children’s Day on 20 November 2021 with cities going blue and organizing kids’ takeovers in celebration of the anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Throughout the awards, cities are invited to share their inspiring examples on social media using the hashtags #childfriendlycities, #IAmCommitted and #WorldChildrensDay

2021 Inspire Awards Ceremony

In addition to the announcement of the six category winners, you will hear inspiring interventions from:

Mayor Sylvester Turner

Mr. Sylvester Turner
Mayor of Houston, USA

Mayor Francineti Carvalho

Ms. Francineti Carvalho
Mayor of Abaetetuba, Brazil

Sandagsuren Jigjidsuren

Mr. Sandagsuren Jigjidsuren
Deputy Governor, Ulaanbaatar

Thiyagarajah Saravanapavan

Mr. Thiyagarajah Saravanapavan
Mayor of Batticaloa, Sri Lanka

Mayor Serhii Morhunov

Mr. Serhii Morhunov
Mayor of Vinnytsiya, Ukraine

You will also hear from children and young people and UNICEF supporters and representatives:

Jeremy Lin

Jeremy Lin
American National Basketball Association (NBA) Champion and UNICEF USA Ambassador

Charlotte Petri Gornitzka

Charlotte Petri-Gornitzka
Assistant Secretary-General and UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, Partnerships

Carla Haddad Mardini

Carla Haddad Mardini
Director of Private Fundraising and Partnerships, UNICEF

NAtalia Winder Rossi

Natalia Winder Rossi
Associate Director, Social Policy, UNICEF

Marja-Riitta Ketola-2

Ms. Marja-Riitta Ketola
Executive Director, Finnish Committee for UNICEF

Murat Sahin

Mr. Murat Sahin
UNICEF Representative to Ukraine

Key Cheol Lee

Mr. Key Cheol Lee
Executive Director, Korean Committee for UNICEF

Rana Flowers

Ms. Rana Flowers
UNICEF Representative to Viet Nam

Euan Wilmshurst

Mr. Euan Wilmshurst
LEGO Foundation

Florence Bauer

Ms. Florence Bauer
UNICEF Representative to Brazil

How do I participate?

Submissions and voting are now closed. Click here to see the submissions.

Questions?

Please contact cfci@unicef.org for any questions on the Child Friendly Cities and Local Governments Inspire Awards.

Criteria for Review

  • All entries complying with participation requirements will be reviewed by six technical expert panels, one for each category, against these criteria: 

    • Demonstrated results​: To what extent has the solution/project positively impacted or changed the life of children and young people growing up in the city or community?
    • Social inclusion and non-discrimination​: How well does the solution/project respect the rights of all children, without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or a parent’s background? Does it contribute to the realization of the rights of the most vulnerable children?
    • Participation of children and young people​: How does the solution/project incorporate the ideas and involvement of children and young people?
    • Creativity and innovation​: How are new and emerging concepts and ideas incorporated in the solution/project?
    • Replicability and cost-efficiency: How easy and appropriate is it to replicate the solution/project in other contexts, especially with limited resources? 

    Regardless of whether an entry makes it to the finals, all UNICEF-approved entries will be published on this website and in an electronic booklet. See the booklet from the 2019 Inspire Awards. 

  • Criteria for Review

  • All entries complying with participation requirements will be reviewed by six technical expert panels, one for each category, against these criteria: 

    • Demonstrated results​: To what extent has the solution/project positively impacted or changed the life of children and young people growing up in the city or community?
    • Social inclusion and non-discrimination​: How well does the solution/project respect the rights of all children, without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or a parent’s background? Does it contribute to the realization of the rights of the most vulnerable children?
    • Participation of children and young people​: How does the solution/project incorporate the ideas and involvement of children and young people?
    • Creativity and innovation​: How are new and emerging concepts and ideas incorporated in the solution/project?
    • Replicability and cost-efficiency: How easy and appropriate is it to replicate the solution/project in other contexts, especially with limited resources? 

    Regardless of whether an entry makes it to the finals, all UNICEF-approved entries will be published on this website and in an electronic booklet. See the booklet from the 2019 Inspire Awards. 

  • Mr. Sylvester Turner
    Mayor of Houston, USA

    Elected in December 2015 as Houston’s 62nd mayor and overwhelmingly re-elected in December 2019, Sylvester Turner is serving his second four-year term. Before serving as Houston’s mayor, Turner served for 27 years as the Representative for Texas House District 139. He worked on the House Appropriations Committee for 21 years and served as Speaker Pro Tem for three terms. Since taking office, Mayor Turner has expertly managed significant challenges facing the nation’s fourth-largest city, including budget deficits, homelessness, and natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey. Amid national unrest and calls for improving the community and police relations, the mayor signed an executive order restricting the use of force and created a Task Force on Policing Reforms. He was appointed to several Budget Conference Committees to balance the state’s budget and serve on the Legislative Budget Board. Operating within the city’s fiscal constraints, Mayor Turner has passed five balanced budgets. He also oversaw Houston’s remarkable rebound from Hurricane Harvey, championed historic pension reform, cheered on the 2017 and 2019 World Series Houston Astros, and hosted a successful Super Bowl LI. He also launched Houston’s first Climate Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, meet the Paris Agreement goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, and led the global energy transition.

  • Ms. Francineti Carvalho
    Mayor of Abaetetuba, Brazil

    Mayor Francineti Carvalho is a psychologist who graduated from the Federal University of Pará, with a master’s degree in educational psychology from the Pontifical University of São Paulo and specializations in Hospital Psychology, Psychological Assessment and Care for Victims of Domestic Violence. She is a public servant at two local public hospitals. Her first experiences in public administration were at the head of the Municipal Health and Social Welfare Secretariats of Abaetetuba municipality, where she is currently exercising her third term as mayor. She was the first woman elected mayor in the city and also holds the mark of the only person re-elected for the position until today. Her work is focused on collective health, with an emphasis on public health and the construction of public policies that contribute to the care of all and prioritizing children and adolescents.

  • Mr. Sandagsuren Jigjidsuren
    Deputy Governor, Ulaanbaatar

    Mr. Sandagsuren has graduated from the University of Commerce and Business Management majoring in Mathematics and Economy. He has served as a Head of Secretariat of Songinokhairkhan District (one of the nine districts of Ulaanbaatar City) Citizen’s Representatives Councils in 2001-2004, and a representative and head of District’s Citizen’s Representatives Council and 2012-2016. During 2016-2020, Mr. Sandagsuren worked as a Governor of Songinokhairkhan District. He is serving as a Deputy Governor in Charge of Human Development and Social Policy matters, Ulaanbaatar since 2020. Mr. Sandagsuren focuses on the human development and social policy for all citizens of Ulaanbaatar city, gives higher priorities on air pollution reduction and participation of children and youth in air pollution reduction initiative and building a clean and safe city for all.

  • Mr. Thiyagarajah Saravanapavan
    Mayor of Batticaloa, Sri Lanka

    Mayor Thiyagarajah Saravanabawan is a physical science graduate from the Eastern University of Sril Lanka, with a Master’s Degree in Applied Statistics from the University of Sri Jayawardenepura, Sri Lanka.

    He served as a public servant. His first experiences in public administration were at the District Secretariat, and then he worked at INGOs as Programme Coordinator and Senior Programme Manager. Currently exercising Mayor of Batticaloa Municipal Council. His biggest mentor of his journey to become a public servant, is none other than his father, Hon. K.Thiyagarajah, who served as a Mayor from 1971 to 1973.

    He is well experienced in development sectors. In 2020, first time in the Municipality’s history, he engaged children in budget consultation, and launched “Big Idea Campaign: to collect children’s opinions on city development.

    He is very proud of making Batticaloa the first child-friendly city in Sri Lanka and in South Asia.

  • Mr. Serhii Morhunov
    Mayor of Vinnytsiya, Ukraine

    Born in Vinnytsia in 1968. Graduated from Vinnytsia school No 33.

    By profession – a historian, graduated from the Faculty of History of Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University in 1992 (teacher of history by qualification).

    He received his second higher education in “Management at the Regional and Local Levels” at the The National Academy of Public Administration under the President of Ukraine in 2010.

    From 1987 to 1989 he served in the army.

    From 1992 to 1997 he worked as a teacher of history and social sciences at the Vinnytsia Technical School of Meat and Dairy Industry.

    From 1998 to 2006 he held senior positions in commercial structures.

    He was elected a deputy of the Vinnytsia City Council three times, the first time in 2002.

    Since February 2014 he was Acting Mayor of Vinnytsia.

    In the elections in 2015 and 2020, he was elected mayor of Vinnytsia.

    He is married. Together with his wife Morgunova Natalia they have a daughter Veronica, born in 1996.

    He was awarded the Order of Merit of II and III degrees.

  • Jeremy Lin
    American National Basketball Association (NBA) Champion and UNICEF USA Ambassador

    Lin, an American National Basketball Association (NBA) Champion and a Harvard University alumnus, has worked with UNICEF since 2020 and has shown his passion for mental health, equity and inclusion and advocating for the most vulnerable communities. A Palo Alto, California native, Lin is the first Asian American to play in the NBA and to win an NBA Championship (Toronto Raptors in 2019). Lin is currently signed to the Beijing Ducks for the 2021-2022 Chinese Basketball Association season.

  • Charlotte Petri-Gornitzka
    Assistant Secretary-General and UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, Partnerships

    Charlotte Petri Gornitzka took up her role as Assistant Secretary-General and UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, Partnerships, on 15 October 2018.

    Ms. Gornitzka, who served as the Chair of the Development Assistance Committee at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) prior to her appointment, brings to the position 20 years of experience in international development. She has successfully built innovative partnerships with leaders from civil society, national governments and the private sector to deliver programme results and influence critical policy changes.

    Before joining OECD, Ms. Gornitzka served as Director General of the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (SIDA) from 2010 to 2016, where she established a network of Swedish and Sweden-based companies to promote sustainable global development. She was previously Secretary-General of the International Save the Children Alliance (2008–2010) and Save the Children Sweden (2003–2008), following six years as Under-Secretary-General and Director of Communications at the Swedish Red Cross (1998–2003).

    Ms. Gornitzka has a background in management consulting with a focus on change management and communications. She studied at the Stockholm University College of Music Education.

    Ms. Gornitzka is a national of Sweden. She and her partner have two and six children, respectively.

  • Carla Haddad Mardini
    Director of Private Fundraising and Partnerships, UNICEF

    Carla Haddad Mardini became Director of UNICEF’s Private Fundraising and Partnerships Division in Geneva in January 2021. Here she leads the organization’s global strategy to leverage the private sector to generate sustainable income for UNICEF and drive partnerships for children worldwide. This includes engaging with the general public (UNICEF’s supporters and donors), philanthropists, foundations, and business to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals for children. She also oversees the coordination, strategic planning and governance with UNICEF’s 33 National Committees that actively engage in child rights advocacy, communication, fundraising and brand positioning.

    From 2018 to 2021, Carla served as UNICEF’s Director of the Public Partnerships Division in New York, leading the organization’s resource mobilization from the public sector and overseeing its engagement with permanent missions and governments on multilateral affairs in the inter-governmental space.

    Prior to joining UNICEF, Ms. Haddad Mardini had served at the International Committee of the Red Cross over a period spanning 17 years. Until the end of 2017, she was the Head of the Resource Mobilization Division, leading donor relations, fundraising and government affairs. She previously held the position of Chief Spokesperson and Head of the Public Communication Division. She spent the early years of her career in the field, covering protection and family links programmes in the Middle East and Africa, serving in Kurdistan and Baghdad in Iraq, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Ethiopia.

    She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Political Science from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon; a Master’s Degree in Comparative Literature from Dartmouth College in the United States, and a Master’s Degree in International Relations with a focus on international negotiation, mediation and conflict resolution from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, in the United States.

    Born and raised in Lebanon, she is a Lebanese and Swiss national. She is fluent in Arabic, French and English. She is married and has two daughters.

  • Natalia Winder Rossi
    Associate Director, Social Policy, UNICEF

    Natalia Winder-Rossi became the Director of Social Policy and Social Protection at UNICEF Headquarters in New York in May 2020. Here she leads UNICEF’s social policy programming at the global level and oversees the organization’s work on child poverty, social protection, public finance management for children and local governance. As of 1 July 2020, the team also anchors UNICEF’s Global Lead on Urban.

    Ms. Winder-Rossi brings more than 15 years of social policy and social protection experience in global and regional roles.

    From 2015 to 2020, she led FAO’s Global Social Protection team in FAO, Rome, while acting as Senior Advisor for the Rural Poverty and Resilience and Humanitarian Action Strategic Programmes.

    Prior to joining FAO, Ms. Winder-Rossi was the Senior Social Protection Specialist at UNICEF’s Regional Office for Eastern and Southern Africa, leading the positioning of social protection as a priority for the region, providing technical guidance to 24 countries, and enhancing the work on HIV-sensitive social protection and resilience. She was also a Social Protection Officer in UNICEF Headquarters in New York, where she co-led the development of UNICEF’s first Social Protection Framework.

    Before starting her career at the UN, she worked for the Inter-American Development Bank in education, indigenous peoples’ development and social protection, the Organization of American States, and other national development agencies.

    Ms. Winder-Rossi is a national of Peru. She has a Master’s in Science in Foreign Service (International Development) from Georgetown University and a Master’s in Science in Social Policy (Research and Evaluation) from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

  • Ms. Marja-Riitta Ketola
    Executive Director, Finnish Committee for UNICEF

    Marja-Riitta Ketola is the Executive Director of the Finnish National Committee since the beginning of 2011.

    She has worked before as Development Director at the Finn Church Aid, and she was the first Chief Executive Officer of Plan International in Finland.

    Marja-Riitta has also several years’ experience in the corporate sector in marketing development and management positions in Finland, Germany and the Netherlands.

  • Mr. Murat Sahin
    UNICEF Representative to Ukraine

    Murat Sahin stepped into the position of UNICEF Representative in Ukraine in July 2021. Murat is leading UNICEF’s efforts in Ukraine to enable the rights of all children, adolescents and young people, especially the most marginalized, to be progressively fulfilled and their full potential to be developed in a protective and inclusive society.

    Prior to joining UNICEF’s office in Ukraine, Murat served as Head of Office in Kosovo (2018-2021) and Deputy Representative in DPR Korea (2016-2018). He had provided strategic direction in the planning, design, formulation and implementation of Country Programmes and activities, in line with national development priorities and United Nations Development Assistance Frameworks.

    In his earlier career, Murat served the organization as adviser and specialist responsible for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) and Education programmes at UNICEF Headquarters and in multiple duty stations including the DPRK, Tajikistan and Turkey. He has been with the organization since 1999. Mr. Sahin is a national of Turkey and passionate about supporting the realization of the rights of all children and giving his best to his work and family.

    Mr. Sahin has a postgraduate degree in business research methods from Edinburgh Business School, a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Bilgi University in Istanbul, and a Civil Engineering degree from Middle East Technical University in Ankara.

  • Mr. Key Cheol Lee
    Executive Director, Korean Committee for UNICEF

    Key Cheol Lee took up his role as the executive director of the Korean Committee for UNICEF in May 2018 and is responsible for fundraising, child rights advocacy, and organizational management.

    Prior to his appointment, he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1985 and served as a career diplomat for 33 years. He served as Ambassador to the Netherlands and the Hague International organizations and Consul-General to L.A, USA. He served as several roles including Director-General of International Law, Special Advisor to the Foreign Minister and Ambassador for Overseas Citizens and Consular Affairs. He has been appointed as an adjunct professor in the Korean National Diplomatic Academy. A total of eight awards including the Order of Service Merit (Red Stripes) in 2018, the Best Ambassador Award in 2017, Korea Civil Service Award in 2015, Diplomat of the Year Award in 2009, Service Merit Medal in 1997, and Best Diplomat Award in 1995.

  • Ms. Rana Flowers
    UNICEF Representative to Viet Nam

    Prior to this appointment, she has led UNICEF teams as Representative in China, Cambodia, Mongolia and Belize. Ms. Flowers has also served in UNICEF Headquarters and in UNICEF’s Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean.

    Rana came to UNICEF with over 10 years of experience working on child development/rights issues in Australia. Passionately committed to the achievement of concrete results for women and children, she applies her development expertise and emergency experience to inspire an approach at UNICEF and sister UN agencies that seeks to support the most excluded and vulnerable populations in particular.

    She’s also a strong believer in youth power.

    Ms. Flowers is a national of Australia. She has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, and Bachelor’s Degrees in Social Work and Arts. She is the mother of two stepchildren Patrick and Pilar and daughters Gabriela and Daniela.

  • Ms. Florence Bauer
    UNICEF Representative to Brazil

    Florence Bauer has been the Representative to the United Nations Children’s Fund in Brazil – UNICEF – since July 2017.

    Previously, she was UNICEF Representative in Argentina (2014-2016) and UNICEF Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina (2009 – 2014). She was also UNICEF Deputy Representative in Peru (2006 – 2009) and served as Communications Officer and Planning Officer to UNICEF in Brazil (1999 – 2006).

    Prior to joining UNICEF, Florence was Administrative Coordinator at the Franco-Brazilian NGO “Solidariedade França Brasil”, in Rio de Janeiro (1997 – 1999), and worked as Procurement Manager at Procter & Gamble’s European headquarters in Belgium (1992 – 1996), being responsible for the negotiation of purchase contracts for Western and Eastern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

    Protecting the rights of children and adolescents, as well as promoting innovative approaches to reducing disparities, through partnerships with various actors, has been Florence’s passion throughout her career.

    Florence is a specialist in planning, management and social policies monitoring and evaluation. She holds a master’s degree in Business Administration with a specialization in International Affairs from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales du Nord (EDHEC Business School), in Lille, France, and holds a postgraduate degree in Policy Studies from the University of London.

    Florence is French and German citizen, married and mother of two children.