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 has been built in generations. People on site need rapid and effective support. But providing emergency relief is only the first step in our humanitarian assistance. We also support people to overcome their plight over the long term. This allows them to better cope with new crises.
The top priority of our humanitarian assistance is to protect children, care for their specific needs and safeguard children's rights because children are especially vulnerable to disasters. To ensure that help is provided as efficiently as possible, we involve the affected people in the planning and implementation of all activities, e.g. through feedback mechanism to continually improve the project work and accountability. We work within a network of experienced, mainly local partners, usually with those with whom we collaborate in development projects.
To give children the best possible protection after disasters, we establish child-friendly spaces, which are essentially special areas – often within emergency shelters – where children receive protection, opportunities to play, food, education, and medical and psychological care. The goal 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.
After disasters, we help restore livelihoods e.g. through income-generating activities and support education by offers such as informal education, temporary support to teacher’s salaries, school feeding programmes to encourage children to continue school and programmes enabling out-of-school children to participate in formal schooling. 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 coordinated in close cooperation with the relevant government agencies or UN agencies in the target countries, and with the involvement of the people directly concerned.
Already during the initial crisis management stage, our partners and us take the necessary steps for subsequent long-term development projects. Affected people 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. In the case of non-functioning government structures, we also promote the establishment of institutions for education, provided the people and their government can eventually take over and sustain these independently over the long run. Promoting such development is also an integral part of our disaster risk reduction and preparedness. After all, climate change, earthquakes, crop failures, political unrest and refugee movements have particularly serious consequences for people who are poor and lack opportunities of participation. In short: Our humanitarian assistance intends to boost resilience of disaster- and conflict- affected people to become more self reliant and less dependent even during future crises.
Furthermore, we advocate with the public to raise awareness for the interrelations between social inequality, unequal economic distribution and imbalanced political power and the effects of disaster and increased vulnerability. Lifestyles and political decisions of less distressed parts of the world population have an impact on the occurrence of natural disasters and violent conflicts. They often also influence the capacity of affected people in poorer countries to cope with crisis.
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. As signatories of the Charter4Change, we strive to strengthen local capacities and structures, among other things through capacity building in topics related to humanitarian assistance, to make our aid more efficient and sustainable. Furthermore, we encourage our partners to network in local and international coordination structures, e.g. OCHA, clusters, etc.
Closely cooperating with other organisations is also important for the success of humanitarian action, 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, Deutsche Lepra- und Tuberkulosehilfe (DAHW), medico international, Misereor, terre des hommes and Welthungerhilfe.
We base our work on internationally recognised recommended courses of actions for humanitarian aid, the most important of which are 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 and the Core Humanitarian Standard.