Introduction to the Resource Kit

Frequently Asked Questions

What is this resource kit about?
Who should use this resource kit?
What are child friendly places, and why are they important?
How was the resource kit developed?
What can be accomplished by using the resource kit?
How are child friendly places created?

What is the resource kit about?

The Child Friendly Places Resource Kit contains tools and activities that can empower children and youth aged 7-18, parents of infants and children of all ages, education professionals and service providers to work collaboratively to assess conditions in their schools, communities and cities. This assessment can then be used as a starting point for taking some direct action or it can be used to convince others, including local government agencies, to improve conditions. Children are already participating in evaluating and improving conditions in thousands of communities across the world, but this is usually through the actions of relatively small numbers of children operating through participatory action research, and sometimes through children’s councils. The child friendly places pictorial surveys are designed to broaden these local actions to involve all children, or at least a comprehensive representation of them in any community.

The resource kit enables the monitoring and evaluation of children’s rights in schools and communities in a way that enables the concerns of different groups of adults and children of different gender and ages to be compared with one another. Ideally, this comparison is done by the participants themselves, although the tools can also be used effectively in more conventional planning approaches by professionals making plans for residents. The assessment tools have been designed in innovative ways to make them more inclusive and participatory. The symbols and graphics enable the participation of young children and adults who cannot read or write. The results of the assessment can be used to compare the perspectives of different groups, ages, and genders within a community and to compare inter-generational perspectives. The resource kit is also unique in that, if all assessment items are used, it includes indicators that cover a comprehensive range of conditions affecting children cutting across a broad spectrum of government sectors, including public health, education, social services, urban planning and public safety.

Who should use the resource kit?

Anyone interested in understanding the perspectives of children and youth about their schools, communities and cities is encouraged to use the resource kit. The activities and tools can be used in any country in the world, regardless of its level of human development, although the indicators should be modified to be culturally and locally appropriate. Examples of groups that have used the resource kit include:

• Schools and After School Programs
• Community Based Organizations
• Child- or Youth-Led Groups/Councils
• Community Service Providers
• Child Advocates
• Teachers/Education Professionals
• Government Representatives
• Non-Governmental Organizations
• Civil Society Organizations
• UNICEF, UN-Habitat
• Academic Researchers
• Program Evaluators
• Urban Designers/Planners/Architects

A couple of examples of groups that have used the resource kit are provided here. Additional information about groups that have used the resource kit can be found online in the case studies.

Improving Schools After a Disaster
A school in Haiti used the resource kit after the earthquake in 2010 to improve the design of temporary schools and the quality of education in emergency contexts. The assessment demonstrated the school had many assets related to the way children and teachers respect and work with one another. Priorities for improving the school included access to electricity and the Internet, more resources for learning, safe spaces for play, free time for play during school, and better toilets (among others). With small seed funding, the school decided to purchase a generator to extend the school day, host community events to increase income for the school, and to improve learning opportunities with audiovisuals that require electricity.

Preparing Schools for Climate Change
A school in the Philippines used the resource kit to prepare for natural disasters with the input of children, youth, parents, teachers and school administrators. The assessment highlighted the school’s assets such as access to electricity, a school vision that guides how it functions, access to nature around the school, and spaces for children to be with friends.  The school’s priorities for change included the condition of its building, learning why disasters happen, and separate toilets for girls and boys (among others). With small seed funding, the children and parents decided to purchase a drainage system to remove flooding around the school during the rainy season.

Improving Children’s Safety
3.Assess_sudan1UNICEF Sudan facilitated the process with rural communities as part of its Child Friendly Communities Program.  The assessment was conducted with 384 children and parents, integrating local objects, artwork and materials into the process.  The evaluation demonstrated a number of issues related to children’s safe journey to school, and the quality of peer relationships.  Working directly with community leaders, UNICEF was able to advocate for new transportation options for girls to arrive safely at school. In addition, new after school programs were developed to help children from different tribes get to know one other in a safe space.

Increasing Awareness of Children’s Rights

A community based organization was interested in designing an after school program about children’s rights in New York City. The resource kit activities were linked with digital media, such as blogging, film production and online videoconferences with youth in Brazil. Youth enrolled in the after school program conducted the evaluation with 95 children, youth and community service providers. The assessment revealed that children’s participation was a primary concern for young people, in addition to a clean environment and safe places to play. The youth developed a children’s rights awareness campaign by creating and sharing a film about the topic with over 200 youth throughout the New York City area.

Supporting Tools

  • 1.a Introduction to the Resource Kit
    Provides an introduction to the idea of child friendly places, why they are important, how they are created, and what can be accomplished by using the activities and tools in the Resource Kit.