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The city of Jericho creates the Children Municipal Council to tackle youth social exclusion

The Children Municipal Council has adressed problems that affect the empowerment of youth people in local communities, through a social inclusion and participatory-based approach.

Since 1999, the Municipality of Jericho has worked closely with its communities in addressing social exclusion, developing participatory planning models and fostering the social capital of city inhabitants. The municipal council approach has highlighted the importance of fostering social inclusiveness and equality of opportunity in urban life, through improving the outreach of local democracy.

In this regard, the municipality has paid a great deal of attention to its young people, which represents more than the 60% of Jericho's population. To that end, an important initiative focused on fostering their social inclusion has been the establishment of Jericho's Children Municipal Council, the first Children Municipal Council in all Palestine. Its main goal was to provide a space where young people could have the opportunity to express their opinions about different issues affecting their lives, as well as to have a chance to take part in the governing of the city. 

The policy was carried out through introducing democratic principles in the council’s operating mechanisms, thus helping its young participants to build self-confidence and develop respectful attitudes and conflict-resolution abilities. The introduction of democratic principles was also intended to help them build an early understanding of democratic institutions, hence improving their own political skills.

Since its establishment, the Children’s Municipal Council has registered many achievements.  Throughout the celebration of its various councils, awareness-raising campaigns targeting Jericho’s whole population have been implemented, on topics such as maintaining a clean environment, road safety, early marriage, school dropout, child labour or the importance of avoiding at-risk behaviours that manifest themselves through violence, drugs, and alcohol abuse. Another activity focused on promoting the social inclusion of children and young population (other than building their capacity and skills) was to promote the participation of the Council members in local, national, and regional meetings. For instance, an important local activity was a series of joint meetings between the Mayor and the City Municipal Council. Another important outward-focused activity was to build networks with other Children’s Municipality Councils in Palestine and in other countries.

If you want to know more about this policy, you can find the whole case study here.