Monday, 22 February 2010

UNICEF HQ through the eyes of an Article 12 Advisor

I’m Evie and recently was appointed an Article 12 Advisor to UNICEF UK’s Child Friendly Communities initiative. Along with 5 other people from Britain, I will be working with UNICEF in 2010 to implement the initiative among British towns and promote a ‘child-friendly’ approach in all communities. Recently, I went to New York City with my family and was lucky enough to visit the headquarters of UNICEF on the last day of my visit.

I spent most of my visit with Cristina Gallegos, who runs the UNICEF Voices of Youth website, and she showed me around the building. The first thing that struck me was the size of the building and the amount of people who worked there – it’s incredible how many people work there, and how much all of these people genuinely care about children is a really positive thing to remember.

The Voices of Youth website is a great forum for young people to discuss issues that relate to them and that they care about – these range from AIDS awareness and the Junior 8 summit to children’s rights and media coverage, along with hundreds of other topics. All the conversations are logged and recorded, as a way of integrating young people’s views into projects. For example, a document was published called A World Fit for Us, which used stories and comments from the VOY forums to explore the impact of the UN Special Session on Children in 2002. The VOY site also carries news items and themes to inform and initiate discussions among the thousands of young people who use it.

I really enjoyed my visit, and extend my sincerest thanks to Cristina Gallegos for showing me around and to Matthew King for helping us to organize the visit. I’d love to return in the future!

Evie xo

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