In 2016, and under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Alqasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, the SCFO expanded its scope from encouraging breastfeeding to focusing on the rights of all children and youth. The office was tasked with creating joint strategies and plans to support and nurture young generations in cooperation with relevant entities. Thus, the Sharjah Child Friendly City project was launched in collaboration with UNICEF, and Sharjah officially submitted its bid to join UNICEF’s Child Friendly Cities Initiative (CFCI ).
Sharjah had made remarkable gains inclusive development in support of child well-being in the Emirate and with its time-bound commitments to addressing remaining gaps and priorities and was recognized as a “Candidate City” by UNICEF under the CFC framework in February 2017.
A short-term action plan implemented at the time included a self-assessment and external reviews, sessions with child rights experts, in addition to hundreds of meetings with relevant entities, children and youth. By May 2018, Sharjah became the first city in the world to receive the UNICEF CFCI accreditation based on the initiative’s updated criteria.
The UNICEF CFCI is based on five main objectives that have been incorporated into Sharjah’s 4-year action plan following its recognition. SCFO has launched various initiatives and programmes to meet these five core goals and to further promote child rights in different aspects of life, such as: ‘Child Friendly Schools and Nurseries’, ‘Child Friendly Urban Planning’, Child Friendly Media’ and the annual Sharjah Child and Youth Carnival.