The Lapsiystävällinen kunta (Child Friendly Municipality) initiative in Finland has been active since 2012 and is led by the Finnish National Committee for UNICEF. As of October 2021, 44 Finnish municipalities are participating in the initiative and 15 municipalities have been recognized as child-friendly. The initiative reaches almost 50 per cent of children living in Finland.
The Child-Friendly Municipality initiative is a tool for municipalities to ensure the realization of child rights in the daily life of every child. The initiative helps municipalities identify the most vulnerable children and to improve their well-being. The goal is to create permanent, structural changes in local governance structures.
UNICEF has built an extensive digital service that allows both UNICEF and the municipalities to monitor the progress of their development work.
Starting with the initiative, municipalities familiarize themselves with the rights of the child through training and materials provided by UNICEF. The municipalities then conduct a situation analysis to assess the current state of their child-friendliness. The survey is based on children’s experiences, the initiative’s child rights indicators and existing information on children’s well-being in the municipalities. Based on the results of their assessment, the municipalities then determine the objectives and measures of their development work in an action plan. Once approved by UNICEF, the action plan will be implemented by each municipality. Follow-up meetings between UNICEF and the municipalities will ensure that work proceeds in accordance with the requirements of the model.
Two or four years after the start of the development work, UNICEF may grant the Child-Friendly Municipality recognition to the municipalities. The granting of recognition presupposes, among other things, that the municipalities have focused their development work on their biggest child rights challenges, children have been able to participate, and the development work has been cross-sectoral. The municipality must also continue the development work after the recognition has been granted.
© UNICEF Finland 2017 Hanna-Kaisa Hämäläinen
Pop. under 18: 1,077,000