UNICEF Kyrgyzstan launched the Youth and Child Friendly Local Governance (YCHFLG) programme in January 2017. Since then, UNICEF has worked with 18 urban and 24 rural municipalities to introduce child- and youth-friendly governance practices and service delivery.
YCFLG seeks to strengthen governments role in child and youth well-being at the level which is closest to the people – local governments. The initiative aims to fill gaps in services for children and young people and emphasizes child and youth participation in planning and delivery of these services. Local governments are encouraged to ask and hear the opinions of children and young people when deciding on issues that matter to them. A YCFLG working group is established in each municipality to ensure that child and youth issues are part of local planning priorities. These coordination mechanisms bring together diverse local government sectors and institutions.
In the programme’s ‘two-way street’ approach, children and young people develop their own priority plans following their understanding and vision of a child-friendly city or community, while the same process is also undertaken by local governments. Finally, the two parties come together to develop a joint action plan. UNICEF also applies social innovation tools like UPSHIFT to engage young people around different social issues.
In addition to the existing programme, in 2019 UNICEF launched a nationwide contest for the recognition of best Child and Youth Friendly City among 18 cities, in line with a Governmental Decree. Participating cities are measured against a set of 26 indicators, looking for example into their efforts in providing spaces for participation, protection from violence, access to education and health for children and young people. Progress on objective indicators is measured based on administrative data routinely collected by different sectors, while the State Agency for Youth andUNICEF conduct relevant surveys to collect subjective data.