The Programa Cidades Amigas das Crianças (Child Friendly Cities Programme) in Portugal was launched in 2015 by the Portuguese Committee for UNICEF. The initiative aims to contribute to the realization of children’s rights in the country and is designed to encourage adoption of public policies that promote the well-being of all citizens, and in particular, children. It also intends to promote favourable conditions for the healthy development and participation of children in the life of the community.
The rights-based and participatory approach of the initiative and concerted action of all the stakeholders is meant to bring about positive change in the organizational culture and services of the participating municipalities and in the lives of children living there. The programme Coordinating Committee supports participating municipalities in their efforts by providing guidelines and technical assistance, through toolkits and workshops as well as through individual support.
The Portuguese Committee for UNICEF accepts applications to the programme annually and since 2016, has received more than 55 applications. As of August 2017, 29 municipalities, ranging in size from cities to small towns, submitted their Local Action Plans that will benefit more than 420, 000 children.
The process of gaining child-friendly city/town recognition includes four main steps. Applicant municipalities start by completing a situation analysis questionnaire and submitting a letter of commitment from the city/ town mayor.
Successful applicants must then set up an effective management structure such as a coordinating mechanism/steering group, made up of a multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral team that will manage and implement the programme locally.
They must also submit a Local Action Plan that clearly outlines the strategy for achieving expected results and changes for children. The Plan needs to incorporate the four pillars of the CFC programme, namely: a holistic approach to addressing children’s rights and well-being; child participation; a child rights strategy; and impact assessment and evaluation. Achievement of these must also include consultation with key stakeholders, including children.
Within six months of submitting the Plan, municipalities produce a progress report. The two documents are analysed against a set criteria and a decision is made as to whether the municipality receives Child Friendly City recognition for a period of four years.
The cities and towns that are recognized submit an Annual Progress Report in order to renew their four-year recognition. The report is a part of a process designed to monitor and evaluate the results and progress made by the programme, determine whether the projects/policies are on schedule and meeting the objectives, and make any adjustments if needed.
© UNICEF Portugal
Pop. under 18: 1,782,000
Number of children reached: 420,000