GUNSAN City has obtained the high-level certification of child-friendly cities approved by UNICEF. The term “child-friendly city” refers to a local administrative area providing a child-friendly environment in which all children under the age of 18 can enjoy sufficient rights. Designating Gunsan with the “Top Level,” UNICEF evaluated 10 implementation results among its child-friendly cities, including a child-friendly legal system, child initiatives, child rights education, children impact assessment.
Gunsan and Its Child-Friendly City Programmes
Gunsan City has established a child-friendly legal system, secured a child-related budget, and formed a children’s youth council.
- Establishing a System for Children’s Safe and Healthy Live
The city took out insurance to 14,000 infants and children for injury and disease. This practice is for the first time in South Korea. The city government also launched the Child Protection Organisation of Gunsan in 2019. Approximately 13,000 children, including parents, are provided education every year through puppet shows, situational plays, and campaigns. The city government has also committed to promoting a healthy environment. For example, there is a project for pregnant women and infants in vulnerable groups to solve nutritional problems (anaemia, sluggish growth, malnutrition, etc.). The citizen can be offered common child welfare through the right support programmes.
- Opening School for Parents
Gathering more than 1,000 people participate every year, the programme provided parents with customised education for various subjects, including emotional coaching education for newly-weds couples, single parents, and dual-income couples.
- Facility Improvement Reflecting Voice of Children and Stakeholders
Children’s playgrounds had been renewed (5 facilities in 2019 and 7 places in 2020) as natural ecological playgrounds. Themed playground can host play classes with about 20 activists. It helped to get higher satisfaction from children and eliminated the imbalance in regional facilities. It also operated vivid experience based on activities in Saemangeum Children’s Land and Children’s Rights Square.
Since the initial certification as a child-friendly city in October 2016, Gunsan conducted environmental diagnoses on 74 children’s playgrounds and promoted a playground improvement project that reflected children’s opinions. For the first time in Korea, the local government of Gunsan has created a plaza called ‘mam-kkeut park’ for children’s rights. Using it as a venue for club activities such as Democratic Citizens Square and ‘living experience,’ Gunsan has tried to create an atmosphere that regards children as the subject of rights. The city has also promoted playground improvement projects that reflect children’s opinions. A city official said, “We will make every effort to create an environment where children and adolescents can grow happily. The policies are implemented by children’s participation, and the city builds an advanced model for sustainable child-friendly governance.”
The city of Gunsan plans to implement 15 majors programmes out of 240 until 2025. It has committed to implement child-friendly city programme(s) every year. The municipality expects that the policies will positively affect teenagers and adult citizens as well.