How our child-friendly spaces work
Child-friendly spaces constitute the key tool for our humanitarian assistance: Oases amid the chaos where children receive protection, food, lessons and medical as well as psychological care.Learn more
Earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, droughts and armed conflicts can rapidly destroy what it has taken generations to build. People on site need rapid and effective support. But providing emergency relief is only the first step in our humanitarian assistance. We also pave the way for people to overcome their plight over the long term. This allows them to prevent new crises.
The top priority of our humanitarian assistance is to rescue and protect children and safeguard children's rights because society's youngest members are especially vulnerable to disasters. To ensure that help is provided as efficiently as possible, we involve people on the ground in the planning and implementation of all activities, and we work within a network of experienced partners.
To give children the best possible assistance during and after disasters, we establish child-friendly spaces, which are essentially special areas – often within emergency shelters – where children receive protection, food, lessons, opportunities to play, and medical and psychological care. The goal here is to provide the children with a structured daily routine and create a foundation of trust that allows them to feel safe in an unsafe situation.
In the wake of disasters, we help restore livelihoods, principally in the areas of income-generating activities and educational structures. The sooner children have an opportunity to return to school, the sooner they have a chance to lead a normal life again and prepare for a better future. All of our activities are planned and organised in close cooperation with the relevant government agencies in the target countries, and with the involvement of the people directly concerned.
Already during the initial crisis management stage, we take the necessary steps for subsequent long-term development projects. People on the ground need to become self-sufficient again as quickly as possible to avoid a long period of dependence on external aid. For instance, we help them safeguard their means of subsistence. We also promote the establishment of institutions for health and education, provided the people and their government can sustain these independently over the long run. Promoting such development is also an integral part of our disaster risk reduction. After all, earthquakes, crop failures and other calamities have particularly serious consequences for people whose poverty and lack of opportunities for participation have left them weak and unprotected.
When disaster strikes, Kindernothilfe works with experienced local partner organisations for the same reasons that we collaborate with them in non-crisis situations. They are intimately familiar with the culture, the people and the special needs and problems of the population. Furthermore, local partner organisations remain on the ground over the long term, even after a crisis no longer attracts international attention, and their proximity to people in the disaster zone engenders trust.
Closely cooperating with other aid organisations is also important for the success of humanitarian aid, which is why we join forces with others, for instance, in the Alliance Development Works (BEH). Additional members include Bread for the World, Christoffel-Blindenmission, medico international, Misereor, terre des hommes and Welthungerhilfe.
All organisations in the alliance base their work on internationally recognised recommended courses of actions for humanitarian aid, the most important of which is the Code of Conduct, which was established by the International Red Cross and the International Red Crescent in collaboration with leading international NGOs in 1994.