Public Space: An Equalizing Factor for ALL Children & Adolescents

Discover how UNICEF Argentina's Municipios Unidos por la Niñez y la Adolescencia (MUNA) initiative brought local communities and municipalities together to encourage participation, reflection, and action regarding the rights of all children and adolescents. From citizen debates and cultural workshops to street fairs and sporting events, the initiatives transformed public spaces into vibrant hubs. With Argentina's World Cup victory as inspiration, this united effort empowered the voice and participation of our younger generation.

Equity for Children’s Collaboration with UNICEF and MUNA to Promote Child Rights

Public spaces are important for all children and adolescents, but that is not commonly understood. Adults must first recognize that access is part of children’s rights. With the goal of expressing and actualizing the concept of equity in public spaces, the Equidad para la Infancia team participated with UNICEF in the Municipios Unido por la Niñez y la Adolescencia” (MUNA) initiative in Argentina at the end of last year. MUNA organized a Call to Action and then trained municipal and local teams to design and implement programming that celebrates citizen participation in public spaces.

The initiative was launched because public spaces frequently do not promote expression, involvement, and participatory action, especially for marginalized community members. On the Call to Action day, municipalities organized events such as fairs, street closures, and festivals in plazas, streets, sports centers, and cultural centers. 

Building on The World Cup and Argentina’s Soccer Passion

The excitement generated by Argentina’s victory in the 2022 FIFA World Cup enabled MUNA to create its slogan and visual image, entitled: “From networks to the streets, your rights are global, too!” The approach underscored the connection between World Rights Day and the World Cup by highlighting that both events unite us as global citizens. Scoring a “golazo”, or an amazing goal, was the theme for the day. Citizens were encouraged to participate in public space activities and celebrate their rights in a tangible way. Breaking through the bonds of the virtual networks that prevailed during the pandemic, MUNA and UNICEF promoted openness and inclusion for all.

The MUNA program took place in 13 municipalities across seven Argentine provinces:

  • Chaco: Machagai, Resistencia
  • Entre Ríos: Villaguay
  • Jujuy: El Carmen, Perico, San Salvador de Jujuy
  • Misiones: San Javier
  • Salta: Embarcación, General Güemes
  • Santa Fe: Rafaela, Reconquista, Rosario
  • Tucumán: Famaillá

What actions were carried out?

Three major kinds of activities took place by the municipalities:

  1. Citizen participation: These activities created spaces for debate and reflection, such as recreating legislative debate at the local level, organizing assemblies or plenaries with discussion committees, and conducting open radio broadcasts led by children. Machagai, Rosario, and Famaillá chose these types of programs.
  2. Culture and sports: These activities included mural painting, cultural workshops, sports, music and dance. Five municipalities, including Villaguay, San Salvador de Jujuy, San Javier, General Güemes, and Rafaela, organized such programming. 
  3. Street Fairs: Activities included game areas, recreational gatherings, and talks.

What is a Call to Action?

A Call to Action is a proposal designed to drive change among a large constituency of people. In this case, MUNA-UNICEF municipalities and local communities across the country gathered to highlight participation and voice for the most vulnerable. Equity for Children invited children and adolescents to participate and enjoy their right to public space, to expression and to participation. This coordinated action enabled municipalities to promote public spaces as places to gather and enjoy their surroundings. 

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