Shklov solemnly awarded title of child friendly city
So far, the initiative embraces Belarusian Borisov, Dobrush, Pinsk, Pruzhany, Svetlogorsk, Grodno, Brest, Gomel, Novopolotsk and Lida, aiming to create harmonious urban environments for children, which allow them to play and live freely and safely.
Aspiring to be a child friendly city is an ongoing mission rather than a prize title to be awarded, envisaging never ending efforts. It covers a range of aspects, relating to management, infrastructure and services. The initiative differs from other social projects as it involves children and teenagers in the decision making process, allowing them to speak for their own interests.
“Children and teenagers have independent ideas on what should be done to develop their courtyards, schools and suburbs, making them child friendly. They can later realise their projects with adult assistance,” explains UNICEF information programme co-ordinator Yulia Novichenok. “Children gain the chance to participate in public life and influence decisions — through school self-management bodies, youth councils and parliaments (operating within local law making and executive authorities).”
According to Ms. Novichenok, the Child Friendly City initiative aims to counteract the negative influence of our urban environments on children, enhancing advantages and making the most of opportunities. Participating cities aim to meet the obligations taken on by Belarus at its signing of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.