I’m Emma, one of the five Article 12 Advisers working on Child Friendly Communities, which is a new initiative by UNICEF UK to try and get children and young people’s rights embedded at the heart of UK society. It’s an award scheme for local authorities who can show that children’s rights are known about, respected and actively upheld. If they can prove this then they can call themselves a UNICEF certified ‘Child Friendly Community’.
The Article 12 Advisers are a group of young people from across the country helping to give a young person’s perspective on the project. UNICEF themselves are upholding children’s rights by hearing and respecting the views of young people. This means our right to have our views listened to, promised in Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; is upheld within UNICEF itself. We also help UNICEF to make sure that what they’re doing will provide real benefits for children and young people.
So far we’ve been working on the assessment framework for Child Friendly Communities, which local authorities will have to fulfil. We have all been giving our perspective on it and looking at ways in which young people can be involved in the process. Personally I’ve been looking at how training in children’s rights, for staff who work with children and young people, will have an effect on our lives
On 16th February we had the first meeting of the advisory committee for Child Friendly Communities. This was a meeting of groups, charities and other organisations who work on children’s rights or might have an interest in the project. We broke into small groups and assessed different aspects of the framework.
From my point of view it was simultaneously terrifying and very exciting and interesting. On the one hand, having to talk to this group of people who work in children’s rights, who clearly will know more than me, was very intimidating, but on the other hand to get their perspective on the project was fantastic and I know I learnt a lot. It was great to get feedback on the framework and I felt the meeting was very successful.
So the work now goes on, and we’ll keep you updated on what we’re doing.