The Child Friendly Territorial Collectivity (Collectivité Territoriale Amie des Enfants) initiative was launched in 2011 as a joint effort by UNICEF, the Ministry of Regional Development and Management (Ministère de la Gouvernance Territoriale du Développement et de l’Aménagement du Territoire), Union of Associations of the Locally Elected (Union des Associations des Élus Locaux (UAEL), Regional Development Agencies (Agence Régional de Développement, ARD) and local non-governmental organizations.
The overall aim of the programme is to enhance the knowledge of local actors in child rights and to build their capacity to develop child-friendly budgets, plans and appropriate mechanisms to track progress for children at the local level. The programme offers local governments a framework for elaborating and executing local policies responsive to the needs of children and young people.
A child-friendly territorial collectivity is a collectivity defined by its efforts towards improving the well-being of children. Concretely, becoming a child-friendly territorial collectivity means putting in place the following measures:
- Establishing a local representative body for children, such as a council
- Developing a participatory, child-friendly budget and action plan
- Developing an indicator dashboard to track the situation of children locally with an emphasis on health, education and child protection
- Assessing the results of the budgeting and planning process
The decision to join the programme is done by the council of the collectivity. A Steering Committee is established to lead on the process at the local level. The programme is run over the course of two years, the first of which is dedicated to the development of the budget and action plan, and the second to its implementation. Currently, the programme does not yet contain a recognition element, as the focus is rather on strengthening local institutional capacities in child-friendly governance.
Today, 52 collectivities are participating in the programme, accounting for approximately 10% of all collectivities in Senegal. The programme has enhanced the inclusion of children’s rights and priorities in local planning and budgeting and mobilized fiscal revenue towards child-friendly policies. It has also increased trust between local governments and citizens by directly involving them in decision-making processes. Moreover, the initiative has increased the availability of local-level data on child well-being.