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.

Today, informal settlements accommodate approximately 1 billion people worldwide of which approximately 350 million are children. These children are particularly vulnerable to the burdens of poverty, poor housing, inadequate infrastructure and the dire living conditions in many informal settlements.

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 needed 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.


The Urban Hub Team at Save the Children Switzerland is committed to developing our collective understanding of urban areas, building partnerships to achieve impact at scale, amplifying the voice of urban children and youth, and supporting both Save the Children and external stakeholders in being responsive to the needs of urban children and youth.

We want to inspire people, governments, policy makers, organizations and networks to play their part in creating change towards a better urban future for children.

The work of the Urban Hub at Save the Children Switzerland has four main pillars:


Partnerships to coordinate and build on different organization’s strengths are key to achieving impact in urban contexts where there are many actors, often with overlapping responsibilities and structures.


Projects for most marginalized children and youth living in cities are implemented in collaboration with local partners, take the views and concerns of children seriously and are based on best practices.


Carrying out relevant research and making knowledge accessible to practitioners, youth and government officials. To ensure information is available in accessible formats knowledge products are shared in short blogs on key issues as well as longer publications that offer deeper engagement with important themes, and tools for creating greater impact.


Advocacy and communications efforts aim to amplify the voices of children and youth living in cities, this raises awareness and develops an understanding on issues faced by children and youth.


The Global Alliance – Cities 4 children is an interdisciplinary alliance of 22 organisations working together to ensure that child rights are firmly embedded in the urban agenda.

The alliance was launched at the World Urban Forum in 2020 and is led and chaired by Save the Children.

The Global Alliance was established to tackle the huge challenges and numerous issues faced by children living in urban areas, especially the most marginalized. We believe that together, we will achieve greater collective impact and influence and have a louder voice in  transforming the narrative on urban areas fit for children.

Visit the Alliance Website ( and follow the alliance on

Global organizations working in urban areas acknowledge that collaboration would greatly increase the impact of our work, and that more collaboration is needed.

Sarah Sabry Global Lead Urban at Save the Children Switzerland

Projects in Urban Programs

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