The Initiative in Belarus
The “Child Friendly City” Initiative in the Republic of Belarus was proposed and began to develop with support by the Office of UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in 2006.
In 2006–2008, the city of Svetlogorsk, Gomel Region, became the first city where the local authorities, governmental and nongovernmental organizations and institutions expressed the intention to bring together the efforts and support from UNICEF to make this city friendly for children and young people.
The Initiative was welcomed by the Belarusian organizations and specialists dealing with the issues of childhood, and in 2008 the National Commission on the Rights of the Child set up the Coordination Council on the implementation of the global “Child Friendly City” Initiative. The Council developed the first version of the documents on the Coordination Council; the procedure and methods for monitoring and evaluation of the Initiative: these documents were used as the basis of the Belarusian model of the Child Friendly City and the project on the development of this Initiative.
Since 2008, the coordinator of the Initiative implementation in Belarus has been the educational institute called The National Centre of Artistic Creativity of Children and Young People of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Belarus.
In 2008–2016, the Initiative was joined by the cities of Pruzhany, Pinsk, Dobrush, Borisov, Grodno, Lida, Gomel, Brest, Novopolotsk, Polotsk, Mozyr, Novogrudok, Zhodino, Soligorsk, Molodechno, Slutsk, Kostyukovichi, Gorki, Shklov, Minsk, Mogilev, Baranovichi, Volkovyssk, and Orsha.
In 2013–2017, then cities completed the process of description, calculated the CFC index, and presented reports “The Situation of Children in the City”, describing the main achievements, the problems identified and the strategies of CFC development for the future. The obtained data were used by the National Coordination Council on CFC to award the title of honour “Child Friendly City” to Novopolotsk, Brest, Pruzhany, Polotsk, Soligorsk, Zhodino, Baranovichi, Novogrudok, and Minsk.
The Republic of Belarus has goods conditions for developing the “Child Friendly City” Initiative.
The social policy of the State is aimed at providing the basic guarantees for children’s life and development; the country has accessible and affordable systems of education and health and the system of governmental support to families with children; various mechanisms for rehabilitation of children in conditions of social risks are in place.
For better coordination of the global initiative, all cities which joined the Initiative have endorsed programmes of action. The cities have set up Coordination Councils responsible for analysis and evaluation of the efficiency of the social policy on young people and their families, the development of conceptual programmatic approaches, the preparation and conducting of actions, and the organization of a large-scale awareness campaign about the implementation of the “Child Friendly City” Initiative in mass media, at workplaces and places of residence. The cities which joined the Initiative organize social self-government for children and young students, the so-called children and adolescent parliaments under the local authorities, helping children take part in decision-making in order to improve the situation of children in the city.
In these conditions, children and adolescent think about what they should do to properly plan their yards, schools, places of living in order to make their city friendly to children, and implement their projects with support from the adults.