Several educational institutions have teamed up with UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein to develop an app for children to know their rights. It will contain legal content, a quiz, and an emergency call button.

A project of UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein, OST (Ostschweizer Fachhochschule) and PH Lucerne wants to inform children about their rights via an app. The goal is to fulfill a mandate of the UN Convention on Children’s Rights while also teaching children responsible media behavior. Preparations are currently underway for design workshops with children.

Not many kids know their rights

The UN Convention on Children’s Rights stipulates the rights of children. One of these rights is to be informed and to gain learning experiences. A recent report by the Children’s Rights Network in Switzerland shows that not every child knows their exact rights.

Whose responsibility is it to teach children about their rights? Parents, schools? Probably both, but the reality is that today children and young adults are increasingly informing themselves via smartphones. So why not build an app?

That’s what the OST – University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Eastern Switzerland, UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein, and the Lucerne University of Teacher Education have now initiated. An interdisciplinary team is developing a digital solution for communicating children’s rights. The project is funded by the Paul Schiller Foundation, the Federal Social Insurance Office (FSIO), and UNICEF.

Legal content, a quiz, and an emergency call button

Swiss experts in the field of children’s rights are helping to design the application. To develop a web application that is appropriate for the target group, 6- to 12-year-old children will be involved in child-oriented workshops this coming fall. The focus of the application will be on vulnerable groups.

“In the future, children in difficult situations should have the opportunity to find out about their rights and possible contact points via the web app,” says Regula Flisch, a lecturer with a focus on child protection and initiator of the project.

“Our digital solution should optimally complement existing offline products and be supported, used, and distributed by as many organizations active in the field of children’s rights in Switzerland as possible,” adds Matthias Baldauf, co-project leader and professor at the Institute for Information and Process Management at the OST.

The app will include Legal content, a quiz, and an emergency call button. “Despite their rather dry content, the individual children’s rights are to be presented in a playful and interactive way for the children,” adds Nicole Hinder, Head of Child Rights Advocacy and member of the Executive Board at UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Distribution crucial for success

The app will be distributed by the project network, consisting of various Swiss child rights institutions, together with corresponding information material. By optimizing the web application for smartphones, the aim is to enable the widest possible distribution and use, including among professionals in both school and out-of-school settings.

“Such an application on the topic of children’s rights and their development with children do not exist in Switzerland so far,” explains Thomas Kirchschläger, responsible for human rights education at the PH Luzern. “According to our experiences in human rights education, it is important to always open up new access and participation opportunities for children when it comes to their rights. Looking beyond the borders of countries, topics and ages reveals some similar project approaches, for example in Austria or in the German state of Hesse, which will serve as references for us in the project,” says Kirchschläger.

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