UNICEF hails Sharjah’s child-friendly, nurturing environment

UNICEF hails Sharjah’s child-friendly, nurturing environment

SHARJAH, 15th September, 2022 (WAM) -- A UNICEF delegation to Sharjah has hailed the emirate’s efforts in providing a safe and nurturing environment for children, steered under the vision, goals and holistic approach of the Sharjah Child-Friendly Office (SCFO), which bolsters the emirate’s status as the first Child-Friendly City in the world.

During a visit to the SCFO, the delegation was briefed on the emirate’s leading efforts in safeguarding child rights and promoting the wellbeing of children in cooperation with various sectors and entities that led to the conferment of the prestigious UNICEF title.

Dr. Hessa Khalfan Al Ghazal, Executive Director of SCFO, received the UNICEF delegation comprising Dr. Eliana Riggo Chaudhuri, CFCI Consultant; Erika Strand, Director of Social Policy - UNICEF GAO, and Noheier Nashaat, Programme Coordinator - UNICEF GAO.

During the visit, the SCFO organised field visits to various government institutions and bodies that implement Child-Friendly City principles in line with international standards and best practices. In addition, a series of meetings and discussions were also held to shine a light on the respective projects and initiatives undertaken to date to fulfil their goals.

The UNICEF delegation met with the Sharjah Social Services Department, Sharjah Police, Child Safety Department, Sharjah Prevention and Safety Authority, Sharjah Private Education Authority, and the Sharjah Education Council. It also visited the headquarters of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, Sharjah Health Authority, Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services, and Sharjah Urban Planning Council.

During their visits to the Collage Talent Centre at Sharjah Ladies Club, and affiliates of Rubu’ Qarn Foundation for Creating Leaders and Innovators, including Wasit Youth Centre, Sharjah Children - Al Qarayen, and Sajaya Young Ladies of Sharjah, the delegation was briefed on the activities and programmes designed to unleash the potential and hone the skills and capabilities of the younger generations.

Commenting on the visit, Dr. Hessa Khalfan Al Ghazal, Executive Director of the SCFO, emphasised the entity’s strong bonds with UNICEF and hailed the guidance and support provided in developing effective programmes that led to Sharjah’s crowning as the first Child-Friendly City in the world.

The Executive Director of SCFO said, "The implementation of Child-Friendly City standards requires unwavering commitment and cooperation amongst all stakeholders to fulfil the vision of creating safe, inclusive and child-responsive cities and communities. Creating a safe and nurturing environment for children strengthens their mental and physical wellbeing, safeguards their right to play in spaces that meet child-friendly urban planning standards, and equips them with the knowledge to forge a bright future."

Erika Strand said, "During our short visit to the UAE, we saw a small sample of the programmes and services on offer to children. From specialised justice services and police training on child protection to innovative, geospatialised data collection used to minimise the time children spend on the school bus each day, it is clear that Sharjah has found creative and innovative ways to improve the everyday lives of children."