Ways to Use the Resource Kit

Frequently Asked Questions

How do groups begin the process of implementing this methodology?
What are the range of goals that can be developed through this methodology?
What local planning and development processes can be enhanced through this methodology?
What are some of the common challenges in applying this methodology, and how can they be addressed?

How do groups begin the process of implementing this methodology?

7.Act_haiti12Integrating the methodology with existing local development initiatives or educational programs - Ideally the child friendly places approach is integrated into an existing school, or community initiative to ensure its sustainability and to improve the likelihood of affecting change. Community groups that are already working to improve their local conditions with children, youth and families would benefit from the assessment and planning process when there is a lack of data to make informed decisions. Educators working within schools may find the approach useful for educating children about their rights. Linking the activities to an existing local planning process will likely yield quicker results because community groups and allies may already be in place.

Community groups can also use the resource kit materials independently without an existing initiative to develop a strategic plan or approach for working with children and their families. However, starting a new project through the methodology may require more time to plan and mobilize community groups to participate. At the same time, the approach may be needed in many cities where no forum currently exists to gather citizen input about their schools and communities. In this scenario, organizing groups might benefit from mapping the individual and community assets that can be leveraged for their potential value in the assessment and planning process. For example…

  • Are there existing community programs for children that are working well?
  • Are there politicians or community leaders who are already strong advocates for children?
  • Does the school have a student council that is engaged in activities to improve the quality of education?
  • Does the community have a council that allows children and youth to have a voice in decision-making?
  • Is there a natural open space that can be used to make a community garden?
  • Are there parks that are welcoming to families?

Social Mobilization – Organizers of this process need to make a number of early decisions on the number and types of groups that should be mobilized to participate in the assessment and planning process. This includes four types of groups: 1) a coordinating committee, or a group that assists in the planning and adaptation of the approach for the local context, 2) community facilitators, or a group of local residents that are interested in leading the community assessments, 3) allies, or local community leaders or decision makers who can support direct actions for children as identified through the assessment results, and 4) participants, such as children, parents, and service providers who take the assessment and contribute their viewpoints to community priorities and plans. More information on how to mobilize a representative sample of community participants can be found in Ensuring the Participation of Everyone, and Identifying Participants.

3.Assess_shaishavindia4Adaptation and Planning. There are many ways to use the intergenerational assessment, planning and advocacy tools contained in this resource kit. It is important that organizing groups adapt the materials for the local context to ensure the youngest children can participate and that the process is culturally and environmentally relevant. Suggestions on how to do this can be found in Adapting the Resource Kit to the Local Context. Having an initial understanding of the existing conditions and concerns of children, youth and families will help organizers make some preliminary decisions about the topics and items that might be included in the community assessments. For example…

  • Do children and youth in your community currently lack opportunities to provide input on decisions that affect them?
  • Is the infant mortality rate above average in your community?
  • Does your community need more schools or parks?
  • Is your community interested in improving the quality of housing for children and families?
  • Does your community want to improve children’s access to nature and healthy foods?
  • Are trash and waste on the streets impacting children’s health when they play?

Depending on the issues facing children, youth and families, the activities can be used to improve the conditions of three types of places: 1) schools, 2) communities, and 3) if used with a representative sample of schools and communities, the process can also improve the conditions of cities. The initial aim of an initiative should ideally be broad, such as “improving schools with the input of children and youth.” This broad aim is then further defined and articulated into specific goals based on the results of the community assessment and priorities identified by children, youth and adults. In the best of scenarios, these goals are included in community or school improvement plans and are acted upon to improve places for and with children, youth and families.

IndiaCapacity Development – Local organizing groups should consider different ways to orient community leaders and decision makers, and to build the capacity of community facilitators to lead the assessment process, which can include children as young as 9 or 10 years of age. Based on the case study experiences, capacity development should ideally include: 1) an orientation to the assessment methodology through simulation and role playing, 2) a discussion of local cultures of childhood, or the different meanings that children, adults and the local community ascribe to the period of childhood and adolescence, 3) an overview of children’s rights and how they are integrated into this assessment process, and 4) an overview of local community or municipal decision making processes that could be targeted through this process. Community facilitators should also be involved in determining the appropriate assessment items for their local context. Download the Introduce activity facilitator’s guide for more recommendations on reviewing and adding new assessment items.

What are the range of goals that can be developed through this methodology?

It is important to anticipate what is feasible to achieve as a result of this intergenerational assessment and planning process. This knowledge will help local organizers to plan and manage expectations of the process, and to ensure everyone who participates understands what is realistic in the short and long-term. Some goals can be achieved by groups acting on their own behalf, while other goals may require the support of community leaders and government representatives to implement real change.

Some examples of the potential goals that may be developed through this participatory process are shared below. These examples are not exhaustive of all the goals that may be important for schools, communities and cities in your country. Most importantly, these goals should be developed through the participatory assessment and planning process, rather than at the beginning of the process. Additional examples can be found in the case studies.

Child Friendly Schools The child friendly places approach can be applied within schools through intergenerational assessment and planning activities with school directors, children and adolescents, teachers, school service providers or education professionals, and parents. Depending on the capacity and resources available to organizing groups, some examples of the goals and that could be developed to improve the conditions of schools include:

  • Improve the design, condition and safety of the school building
  • Improve the quality of teaching and learning
  • Provide more opportunities for participation in school decisions
  • Enhance opportunities for play and recreation
  • Improve the safety and inclusion of all children in the school
  • Protect the environment around the school
  • Improve school health and social services
  • Improve the layout and design of classrooms

Child Friendly Communities – The child friendly places approach can be applied within communities through intergenerational assessment and planning activities with children and adolescents, parents, community service providers and community leaders. Depending on the capacity and resources available to organizing groups, some examples of the goals and that could be developed to improve the conditions of communities include:

  • Increase opportunities to attend cultural events at night in the community
  • Improve access to nature around the homes of infants and children
  • Create play opportunities for girls near their homes
  • Improve the conditions of community pathways through additional street lights
  • Improve the safety of community streets
  • Eliminate garbage and waste near children’s homes
  • Improve access to food through community gardens
  • Increase opportunities to participate in community decisions

Child Friendly Cities – The child friendly places approach can be applied to improve the conditions of cities working in collaboration with local decision makers in various sectors of the government, such as education, social welfare, health, and urban planning. If the goal of the initiative is to influence cities, it is recommended that the assessment and planning tools found in this resource kit be used with multiple schools and communities through a household and geographical sampling process. The number and location of schools and communities will vary from city to city. The general idea is to include a representative group of schools and communities in the process based on the overall aim of the initiative. For example, if the goal is to influence city plans, policies and programs in low-income communities, then a selection of schools and communities that fit this profile should be included in the process. Influencing municipal agendas often requires more resources and time because of the number of schools and communities that need to be involved.

A Child Friendly Cities Governance Toolkit  is also available to help local decision makers examine and improve their municipal structures and processes for children. This toolkit can be integrated into the approach as well, and is a useful way to obtain the necessary buy-in of community leaders and government representatives to create real change to environments with the input of children, youth and families. The toolkit contains a “check list” of ideal plans, programs and policies for child friendly cities, as well as a “scenarios” tool that helps local officials understand how decisions are made for children within their cities. Government representatives can also participate in the community assessments as service providers.

Supporting Tools

  • 1.c Ways to Use the Resource Kit
    Provides suggestions on how to start an initiative, specific goals and outcomes that might be achieved, how to integrate the assessment findings into local development initiatives, and common challenges in using the Resource Kit.