Mumbai and Bhopal, India, 2014

Image source: Action for Children’s Environments (ACE) Trust

Promoting Safe Communities is an urban programme established in Mumbai and Bhopal by UNICEF and its partners. It aims to develop a Safe Community model with the participation of communities and local stakeholders.

The first phase consisted of a participatory mapping process to understand and document the protection and safety concerns of children living in selected informal settlements of the city. This formed the baseline for developing the Safe Community model.

In each location, the mapping activities involved children, adolescents and adults from the local community. They had the dual role of trained researchers and respondents. Over a period of six months, empirical data was collected via different methods, such as household survey questionnaires and observation checklists. These tools were designed to enable children to make analytic observations at the individual, family and community level and to map safe and unsafe spaces. The data was integrated on to a GIS platform by UNICEF’s technical partner, Action for Children’s Environments, who designed the participatory mapping exercise.

Pilot projects were then initiated in each of the selected communities and resettlement housing sites suggested by the mapping. They implemented measures to reduce unsafe conditions regarding housing, access to public places, public toilets, walking routes to school, etc. As an example, some open ground used as a dumping site was converted into a playground, with the active participation of children.

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