Universal Children’s Day, 2013

Universal Children’s Day, 2013

“Children are great imitators. So give them something great to imitate.”
- Unknown

Universal Children’s Day was first proclaimed by the UN General Assembly on November 20th, 1954, stipulating that “the obligations of the United Nations to succeeding generations can only be fulfilled by increased efforts on behalf of the children of the world, who are the citizens of tomorrow.”[1]

Today, Universal Children’s Day commemorates not only the adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1959), but also the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989). These documents are expansive, and challenge countries to create and uphold legal, economic, and social protections that promote “… international co-operation for improving the living conditions of children in every country.”[2]

Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child promotes the reduction of malnutrition, the reduction of infant and child mortality, and access to basic knowledge around child health and nutrition. In this spirit, and standing on the shoulders of international efforts both past and present, SPRING is marking November 20th by sharing a small collection of child health and development resources. While these documents and websites are by no means comprehensive, they do represent trusted sources for data, research, programming, and advocacy.

Join us in celebration of Universal Children’s Day by sharing these resources with colleagues and families alike.

(And show this video to your favorite kids!)

Jump to: inspiration | tools | guidelines | research


TED Conferences
Series of 18-minute, high energy, high impact presentations from young thinkers around the world. Held each year around Universal Children's Day, as a set of the broader TEDx series.

Lawrence Haddad, on child malnutrition and the need for leadership
The Guardian
"If we can prevent malnutrition in the first 1,000 days we turn this dark legacy into a bright one. We will have locked in these benefits for ever – throughout the life cycle and across the generations."


Interactive Data and Visual Resources
Visualize, learn, report, and advocate.

  • Countdown to 2015
    "The Countdown country profile presents in one place the best and latest evidence to enable an assessment of a country's progress in improving reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health (RMNCH) and achieving MDGs 4 and 5."
  • STATcompiler.org
    "The MEASURE DHS STATcompiler allows users to make custom tables based on hundreds of demographic and health indicators across more than 70 countries. Customize tables to view indicators by background characteristics, over time, and across countries."
  • A Promise Renewed
    "What are the leading causes of child deaths in different countries around the world? Which countries have reduced child mortality the most over the past 40 years? Explore these and other questions in the new interactive under-five mortality dashboard. It uses rich maps, bubble graphs, and other visualizations to bring the data to life."
    The definition and life-long impacts of childhood stunting.

Nigeria Community and Facility Infant and Young Child Feeding Package
SPRING Project
"This package of materials was adapted from the UNICEF and WHO generic global document and the 2010 National Recommendations on IYCF in the Context of HIV… The Nutrition Division of the Federal Ministry of Health led the process with financial support from UNICEF, the (former) IYCN Project, the SPRING Project, and the WINNN project."

Community Based Infant and Young Child Feeding Training Package
Used as the basis of the Nigeria IYCF package (above).
"Aimed for use in diverse country contexts, the package of tools guides local adaptation, design, planning and implementation of community based IYCF counselling and support services at scale."

Village Volunteer Micro-nutrition Module (PDF, 2.2MB)
A2Z Project
A complete child nutrition training guide for village health volunteers in Cambodia. Includes activities, agendas, lesson plans, and more.

Child Well-Being Tools
A variety of child health monitoring, evaluation, and reporting tools available through the USAID-funded MEASURE Evaluation project.

The toilet gap: How much of differences across developing countries in child height can sanitation explain?
World Bank, Development Impact Blog
Published on February 6, 2013. This short piece is the "public-friendly" version of an important research contribution to the nutrition-WASH nexus, focused on child stunting. 


Indicators for Assessing Infant and Young Child Feeding Practices: Parts 1, 2, and 3
FANTA Project
"The publications… describe and provide guidance for collection of eight core and seven optional infant and young child feeding (IYCF) indicators that can be assessed in population-based surveys, including Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS); Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys; and Knowledge, Practice, and Coverage Surveys."

Guiding Principles for Infant and Young Child Feeding
International standards for IYCF for (1) breastfed and (2) non-breastfed children, as well as in (3) HIV-positive scenarios.

  • Guiding Principles for Complementary Feeding of the Breastfed Child
    "These guidelines can be used as the basis for developing recommendations on complementary feeding for breastfed children 6-23 months of age. The guiding principles not only set standards for practical dietary guidelines, they also discuss when, where and how young children should be fed." 
  • Guiding Principles for Feeding Non-Breastfed Chidren 6-24 Months of Age
    "There are a number of infants who will not enjoy the benefits of breastfeeding. They include children born to HIV-positive mothers who choose not to breastfeed and children whose mothers have died. To address the nutritional needs of children who are not breastfed after 6 months of age, WHO has led a process to develop Guiding principles for feeding non-breastfed children 6-24 months of age."
  • Guidelines on HIV and Infant Feeding 2010
    "This evidence has major implications for how women living with HIV might feed their infants, and how health workers should counsel these mothers. Together, breastfeeding and ARV intervention have the potential to significantly improve infants' chances of surviving while remaining HIV uninfected."

Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health (PDF, 0.5MB)
UN Secretary-General
"Together we must make a decisive move, now, to improve the health of women and children around the world. We know what works. We have achieved excellent progress in a short time in some countries. The answers lie in building our collective resolve to ensure universal access to essential health services and proven, life-saving interventions as we work to strengthen health systems." 

e-Library of Evidence for Nutrition Actions - eLENA
Continuously updated library of evidence and guidance on ENA. "The WHO e-Library of Evidence for Nutrition Actions (eLENA) is an online library of evidence-informed guidance for nutrition interventions. It is a single point of reference for the latest nutrition guidelines, recommendations and related information including supporting materials such as scientific evidence, background materials and commentaries from invited experts."


Generation 2025 and beyond: The critical importance of understanding demographic trends for children of the 21st century (PDF, 2.33MB)
UNICEF Division of Policy and Strategy
This report was produced and released last November as part of Universal Children's Day. "One of the biggest risks to children is a transfer of essential resources away from them, as increasingly total dependency ratios stretch government and family resources ever thinner."

Strengthening Community Nutrition Programming
Infant & Young Child Nutrition Project
"The collection includes literature reviews, social and behavior change communication resources for reaching a wide range of community members, and monitoring and evaluation tools. Informed by IYCN's experience implementing community approaches in eight countries, the tools fill specific program needs but can be adapted for use in other country settings."

How Much International Variation in Child Height Can Sanitation Explain? (PDF, 0.6MB)

Full research report, including in-depth discussion on statistical methods used, that is tied to the blog above.

[1] United Nations, 512th Plenary Meeting. “Resolution 836 (IX) - ‘Universal Children’s Day’”. Resolutions adopted on the reports of the Third Committee. 14 December, 1954, p.21
Available at: http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/836(IX) [accessed 18 Nov 2013]

[2] United Nations General Assembly, “Convention on the Rights of the Child”, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1577. 20 November 1989, , vol. 1577
Available at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CRC.aspx [accessed 18 November 2013]