The Child Friendliness Index

Expert's Take

The Child Friendliness Index: Holding Governments Accountable

By Dr. Assefa Bequele, African Child Policy Forum

In 2008, as part of its Pan-African evidence-based advocacy, the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF) developed the first ever Child-Friendliness Index (CFI) which serves as an empirical framework to measure, monitor, and analyze the performance of African governments in ensuring the dignity and rights of children.


This pioneering and powerful policy and advocacy tool scores and ranks the performance of governments based on a rights-based and statistically robust methodology that has gone through several validation processes.

Hoima, Uganda - November 19, 2011: African kids - Groups of children different age are standing up against the camera on the grasses at small village.

The key questions the CFI addresses include:


  • How well are African governments doing to meet their obligations to children? Which governments are doing well, and which ones are not?
  • How do governments rate in relation to each other?
  • What accounts for differences in government performance?
  • Which are the areas where they have or have not progressed well?

The CFI follows a holistic approach based on the “3Ps” of the CRC: Protection, Provision, and Participation. Some thirty indicators related to legal, policy, budgetary, and child wellbeing outcomes are used to measure performance. These include indicators on birth registration, child marriage, violence, education, nutrition, and health services. With respect to violence, the CFI evaluates efforts to prevent and address all forms of violence against children, including harmful practices.

3 young African kids sitting outside eating

The analyses and results from this exercise — which are published in ACPF’s biennial publication The African Report on Child Wellbeing — provide critical policy-oriented information that governments and child rights advocates can use in initiating, implementing, and campaigning for legal, policy, and budgetary reforms.

Remarks by H.E. Mrs. Graça Machel at the launch of The African Report on Child Wellbeing 2018.

The strength and international relevance of the CFI lies in its deliberate focus on government performance, its methodological and empirical rigor, and in being anchored to universal principles.


Because it provides a rights-based statistical framework for assessing the comparative performance of governments, it has the added advantage of being an incontestably objective advocacy tool to hold governments accountable and to promote child rights and child wellbeing in Africa and beyond.

Kenyan school children. Kenya. Africa.

Learn More:

This spotlight was pulled from “What Works to Prevent Sexual Violence Against Children,” a systematic review of proven solutions and best practices to prevent and respond to sexual violence against children and youth (SVAC). The review was completed in collaboration with a group of experts and allied organizations and highlights evidence-based solutions from around the world. Read the whole set of #SVSolutions Program Spotlights here.

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