Helsinki’s Child-Friendly Municipality work attracting international interest

On 7 September, an international group of 40 people will visit the City of Helsinki to learn more about Helsinki’s Child-Friendly Municipality work. The members of the group are from China, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
Two children form a heart with their hands.
Photo: Jefunne Gimpel

Many important matters concerning children and young people and the rights of the child are implemented by the municipalities. UNICEF’s Child-Friendly Municipality model promotes the realisation of the rights of the child and implements the National Child Strategy in municipalities. Helsinki has been a candidate member of the model since 2021. The model is a tool that helps the municipality to make the right decisions for the well-being of children in the municipal administration and everyday services for children. The model also helps municipalities to ensure that the rights of the most vulnerable children in particular are realised. 

With the help of the model, the municipality can identify which areas of children’s rights need to be developed. The model also helps the municipality to define what it should do to ensure that children’s rights are implemented in the municipality as thoroughly as possible. Based on the operating model, Helsinki has set five goals concerning children. 

The first of the goals concerns the rights of the child: those working with children and young people, such as early childhood educators, teachers, youth services and child welfare workers, receive continuing education on the rights of the child. The second goal is that, in order to support the introduction and systematic implementation of the child impact assessment, the city operations make use of clear guidelines. The idea is to make feedback collection on the city’s services child-friendly, regular and systematic. The city’s services for children combat bullying and promote a sense of community. Children’s emotional and interaction skills are promoted in their growth environments. The fifth goal is to strengthen the safety experience of children and young people in urban spaces by developing interaction.

The Child-Friendly Municipality model also helps the municipality to monitor the progress of the work systematically.

The programme of the visit also includes a greeting from Johanna Laisaari, Deputy Mayor of Education, a speech by UNICEF Finland, a speech by THL on the national knowledge base and a speech by the City of Oulu on the work on sustainable development in pre-primary education, basic education and upper secondary education.

The visit is part of UNICEF’s East Asia-Europe cooperation meeting.