The Otrokom prijazno UNICEF-ovo mesto (UNICEF Child Friendly City) initiative in Slovenia was launched in 2002. The model for the initiative was originally exported from neighbouring Italy and is led by the Slovenia National Committee for UNICEF. Currently, 15 municipalities are participating in the initiative, including the capital city Ljubljana.
Participating municipalities range from small towns to big cities and have varied human and budgetary resources. The National Committee has therefore not developed a fixed set of criteria for participation, but rather taken a flexible approach that adapts the initiative to the local contexts. As many of the original CFCI building blocks, such as child protection, have already been addressed at the national level, the National Committee has emphasized the importance of a holistic approach to child rights through child participation and cross-sectoral cooperation.
To join the initiative, participating municipalities must set up a local coordination group that is responsible for planning and implementing the initiative. The National Committee recommends that representatives of civil society organizations and the most relevant stakeholders working with children be invited to join. A local situation analysis is then conducted, based on a template questionnaire developed by UNICEF. The results of the analysis are used to develop a one-year action plan, which is reviewed by UNICEF. After one year, municipalities submit a progress report on actions and projects undertaken during the implementation phase.
Joining the initiative starts with a public event which includes the Mayor’s official pledge of commitment to children. The National Committee emphasizes the role of the national CFCI network that organizes study visits, events and networking possibilities between participating municipalities.
Alongside the Child Friendly Cities, the National Committee engages closely with municipalities through its Child Rights Education programme that reaches 85 per cent of all schools and kindergartens in the country. Engagement with other civil society organizations, such as Slovenia’s biggest child rights organization, Association of Friends of Youth, also takes place through the local CFCI coordination groups.
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Slovenian Committee for UNICEF