The UNICEF Kinderfreundliche Gemeinde, Commune Amie des Enfants, Comune Amico dei Bambini (Child Friendly Community) initiative has been active since 2004.
The Initiative aims to ensure the right of children to participate, be protected, supported and treated as equals in their everyday lives. This is reflected in how these rights are implemented in the following areas: administration and politics; education; family life; child and youth protection; health; and leisure and environment.
The initiative demonstrates, among other things, a municipality’s development potential, contributes to the networking of various stakeholder groups within the municipality and makes the municipality more attractive to families.
A municipality wishing to be recognized as child-friendly must follow certain steps. It must conduct a local situation analysis based on a questionnaire developed by the Initiative’s working group and convene workshops to include the perspective of children and youth. It must then develop a plan of action based on information gained from the situation analysis and workshops. Progress made against the objectives in the plan are assessed by external evaluators and representatives of UNICEF Switzerland during an evaluation day in the municipality.
If the evaluation is favourable, the municipality is recognized as being child-friendly. The recognition is valid for a period of four years with a review conducted after two years. UNICEF offers guidance and support to participating municipalities throughout the process.
As of 2017, 30 municipalities, including the capital city of Bern, have received child-friendly city recognition – 10 of these have been recertified. The Initiative is supported by seven cantons: Aargau, Basel-Landschaft, Bern, Luzern, Schaffhausen, Solothurn, and St. Gallen.
© UNICEF Switzerland