Cities for Children and Youth

We are committed to ensuring that the poorest children in urban areas can attain their rights, can survive learn and be protected in cities that are inclusive, safe, sustainable and resilient.

Childhood is increasingly experienced in urban areas. By 2030 two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in cities.

A substantial proportion of children are being left behind in cities. Intra-urban disparities can be so large that many of the most disadvantaged children in urban areas fare worse than children in rural areas.

For millions of children, the urban experience is one of poverty and exclusion. Studies often fail to capture the full extent of urban poverty and exclusion because they miss the residents of a city who live in slums and informal settlements and because they underestimate the costs need to live in a city.

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55% of world’s population population were living in urban areas in 2018 and this will increase to 70% by 2050, adding an additional 2.5 billion people to urban areas.

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By 2050 this proportion will rise to 70% - so that another 2.5 billion people will live in urban areas.

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60% of urban populations will be under the age of 18 by 2030.

Meera (10) from India

Meera has recently started going back to school after being supported by a shelter for children and families without a home, which is funded indirectly through Save the Children via local partners.

Urban Resilience and disaster risk reduction

We are committed to protecting and building the resilience of the most marginalized children and their families from growing urban risks, both daily risks and the growing risks as a result of climate change. We work in marginalized neighbourhoods as well as in schools.

Cities are centres for innovation, economic growth, diverse livelihoods and social and political life.

Cities have, however, become victims of their own success. Urban populations are growing faster than city governments can develop the infrastructure necessary to provide their basic needs. Increasingly, city dwellers are having to live in informal settlements in inadequate housing and with limited access to basic services. Informal settlements accommodate approximately 1 billion people worldwide today of which 350 million are children who are particularly vulnerable to the burdens of poverty, inequality and the dire living conditions in many informal settlements.

By focusing on the most marginalized, we work towards creating safe and sustainable communities for all children and youth.

+350 Mio.

children are growing up in informal settlements/slums in unacceptable living conditions with severe deficiencies in basic services, infrastructure and inadequate housing.

Urban Resilience and disaster risk reduction

We are committed to protecting and building the resilience of the most marginalized children and their families from growing urban risks, both daily risks and the growing risks as a result of climate change. We work in marginalized neighbourhoods as well as in schools.

Rapid unplanned urbanisation especially in a time of the climate crisis threatens to undermine the realisation of children’s rights. Urban risks can endanger the rights of a child – like survival, development, education and non-discrimination. Children’s wellbeing, safety and access to education are greatly impacted by disasters.

Our strategies to building urban resilience focus on ensuring that schools are safe and on the most marginalized urban residents living in informal and unplanned neighbourhoods.

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Secure schools Our work towards safe schools involves working both in schools as well as with ministries of education and disaster management on school safety.

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Living conditions Our work in informal settlements includes supporting children and their families with necessary knowledge and skills as well as strategic partnerships with governments to fulfil their obligations towards the poorest.

We from Save the Children Switzerland support urban resilience and school safety projects in India, Mexico, Bangladesh and China, as well as a wider research and learning initiative that applies evidence from research to practice.