Report back on the Summit to Establish a Child Friendly City

The Summit to Establish a Child Friendly City took place on the 9th October 2014 at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall. Children, youth, the Mayor of the Msunduzi municipality, government representatives and stakeholders from key organisations whose work have a children and youth focus were invited to attend and participate in the event. One hundred and twenty seven delegates attended; 61 of which were children and youth residing in various parts of the Pietermaritzburg city area.

The main objective of the Summit was to facilitate and support the processes that are contributing to the transformation of Pietermaritzburg into a Child Friendly City (CFC). A CFC is a city with a truly child and youth-centred approach to planning and service delivery, a city which affirms the place of children and youth in society and stands as a positive example of sustainable urban development. An essential mechanism towards achieving this, and a critical component of the Summit, is child participation in the development and management of the city. As such, the process requires the full backing and support of local and provincial government structures.

Recognising this, the Summit focussed on providing a platform where children and youth could participate in discussions with key stakeholders from government institutions and other organisations to make their needs and concerns heard. A number of presentations were given throughout the day to guide and feed into these discussions. Presenters included Mr Alejandro Grinspan from UNICEF South Africa, Mr Siwelile Zimu from the Msunduzi Municipality, Mrs Fiona Balgobind from the Pietermaritzburg Child and Youth Care Centre and Mr Zonwabele Tshayana from Save the Children SA.

Two presentations were given by children; Cyra Sheik from Berg Street Primary gave a presentation on the views of the children on how child friendly the city is currently, and Nhlanhla Ngubo from Copesville Combined shared his experiences of the child participation programme.

Overall the Summit was a success and has paved the way for a very important child participation process for the City’s children and youth.