Advocacy & Awareness-Raising

Advocacy and awareness raising of child rights throughout government and society, including independent advocacy for children.

To be useful, child rights must be known and understood. This means that local government authorities, members of civil society organizations, academics, media and business professionals, parents/caregivers and children must be aware of child rights, understand the concepts, and be able to put them into practice.

Advocacy works to ensure that children’s rights are considered in government laws, policies, budgets and programmes. An independent advocate, such as through the office of the ombudsman for children or a child rights-focussed non-governmental organization, serves to represent the best interests of children and youth, independently of political structures.

Raising awareness on child rights can be done through, for example, sustained capacity building, child rights education and communication campaigns. Collaboration with civil society, children and youth groups, the private sector, academia and the media contributes to these efforts.

Children themselves must understand their own rights and how to assert these. This can be done through, for example, child rights education in school or through life and livelihood skills education and other outreach programmes for out-of-school children.

Country examples
Inclusion does not necessarily imply endorsement by UNICEF.

The Society for Children and Youth of British Columbia (SCY of BC) focusses on providing a strong voice representing children and youth since 1974. Based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, SCY creates and delivers programmes that motivate change in research, legislation, policy and practice in Canada. Project areas include a Child Rights Awareness Campaign launched in 2006, the Child and Youth Friendly Communities Project, which produced a number of public resources and a child-friendly community toolkit, and staff awareness training to better support youth transitioning from foster care.
Link to site.

In France, a CFCI guidebook is given to municipalities applying for child-friendly cities accreditation. The guidebook outlines the various elements needed for inclusive policies and advocates accessibility, cross-sector coordination, social attitudes, individualized approaches and parenting support, as well as the full and equal participation of children with disabilities.
Download France CFCI case study [PDF].

In Regensburg and Weil am Rhein, Germany, a Child Rights Suitcase is available at the children’s office in the municipality. It contains various ideas and methods for discussing child rights with children. It is available to teachers to use with three age groups: early childhood; children aged 9 to 12; and  children aged 12 to 15.

The coordinating body for the CFCI in Germany sends a newsletter out every two to three months to cities involved in the Initiative, which includes information about training opportunities. It is also in the process of collecting good practices at the national level (for example, on urban and traffic planning, bicycle pathways and child participation in project planning) which will be made available to accredited cities.
Download Germany CFCI case study [PDF].

The district of Seongbuk in the Republic of Korea, has developed a training programme for child rights education for municipal staff, local government employees, social workers and school employees. The training includes three sessions of four hours each and uses interactive methodology. For increased visibility, Seongbuk has also developed its own CFC logo that is featured at the city hall entrance, on numerous street banners, on various municipal documents and on CFC staff business cards.
Download Republic of Korea CFCI case study [PDF].

UNICEF Spain issues a call for best practices to recognize and reward actions and projects promoted by local governments or social organizations (schools, associations, foundations, unions, businesses, etc.). The actions and projects selected promote the Convention on the Rights of the Child and improve the wellbeing of children.

In 2014, the ‘Give a Boost to Youth and Intercultural Cohabitation in the Historic Centre of Almeria’ project in Almeira, Spain organized intercultural workshops for children between 5 and 12 years of age from North African, Spanish and Roma communities, as well as children from Romania, Ecuador and China. The activities promoted teamwork, respect and tolerance, encouraged positive coexistence and provided areas where youth could gather. Activities included art, and addressed topics such as health habits and new technologies.
Link to site.

Child rights committees established by the Ministry of Family and Social Policies, across the 81 Turkish provinces, bring together children from throughout a province so that they may educate themselves about children’s rights and discuss issues affecting their welfare. The committees are involved in conducting peer training to inform other children about their rights and to create awareness about children’s priorities and the committees. Committee representatives comprise one girl and one boy from each province.
Download PDF.

The Council of Europe has developed an assessment tool that provides indicators against which to monitor compliance with Article 12 of the Convention – the right of children to express views and have them taken seriously. Although these indicators are directed primarily at national governments and require legislative change, a number are highly relevant for local municipalities. These indicators could be used to measure progress on children’s participation at the local level.
Download Child Participation Assessment Toolkit [PDF].

The European Network of Ombudspersons for Children (ENOC) is a nonprofit association of independent children’s rights institutions (ICRIs). Its mandate is to facilitate the promotion and protection of the rights of children, as formulated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. ENOC establishes links and shares information and strategies with independent children’s rights institutions – children’s ombudsmen, commissioners for children, or focal points on children’s rights in national human rights institutions or general ombudsman offices. The ENOC holds an annual meeting.
Link to site.