Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Emergency Relief

Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Emergency Relief (203rd report)
Child friendly spaces guidebook cover design competition

[15 August 2013, TOKYO, JAPAN]

Natural disasters and armed conflicts around the world frequently and instantaneously rob children of their sense of normality. The Japan Committee for UNICEF (JCU) understands the importance of acting fast so that the emotional wounds suffered by children as a result of these events do not deepen. Securing child friendly spaces, including school buildings or refugee camps that serve as temporary homes, is vital to ensuring that children have a safe and peaceful place to live and play. All of these elements form what is "normal" for children, and they are an important requirement along with food, drinking water and medical assistance.

In response to the Great East Japan Earthquake of 11 March 2011, JCU and many other assistance providers worked to provide child friendly spaces for children living in refuge.

One specialist implementing psychosocial assistance on the front lines in Japan noted that, "Japan is victim to frequent natural disasters, including typhoons and earthquakes, and that is why emergency assistance that includes establishing child friendly spaces should be the standard." Another specialist added, "What we really need is a practical guidebook that can be used on the ground where assistance is being implemented."

In light of this need, JCU and the National Information Center of Disaster Mental Health decided to produce a Japanese version of UNICEF's "A Practical Guide for Developing Child Friendly Spaces". This guide was published in 2010 as a compilation of 20 years of UNICEF experience developing child-friendly spaces. JCU made a public call for proposals for the guidebook's cover. We wanted a cover that would communicate the important intention and message of the guidebook.

Winners Selected by 5 Judges

Despite the short one-and-a-half month application period, JCU received a total of 13 submissions for the guidebook cover competition. Entries came in from across Japan and even overseas, each rich with individuality and creativity.

On 6 August at the UNICEF House in Tokyo, a panel of judges convened to review the submissions. They were looking for a great design, but more importantly a design that would have the right impact on people (particularly children) in the affected areas when the guidebook was used onsite. After a very complex and engaged discussion that drew from the judges' years of experience in the field, the five judges unanimously agreed on two winners, a Grand Prize winner and a Notable Achievement award.

Grand Prize

Kakuho Fujii
Freelance clay artist, Tokyo

The Grand Prize winning submissions by Kakuho Fujii. The submission on the left is for the Section 1 category (Main Principles of Child Friendly Spaces), and the submission on the right for Section 2 (Practical Guidance for Establishing a Child Friendly Space).

Notable Achievement

Yukie Netsu
Smart City Project, Tokyo


Reiko Oya
Freelance designer, Osaka

A Notable Achievement winning submission by Yukie Netsu.
A Notable Achievement winning submission by Reiko Oya.

JCU extends its heartfelt gratitude to everyone who took the time to submit an entry to the Child Friendly Spaces Guidebook Cover Design Competition. The Guidebook is scheduled for completion in late October and its cover will bear the design submitted by the Grand Prize winner. The Guidebook will be provided to central government agencies and municipal governments across Japan involved in assistance to children, as well as NGOs and NPOs that provide child assistance.

© Japan Committee for UNICEF
Judges commenting on the high quality of the submissions: "This design could even be used for other UNICEF publications. The submissions really express the spirit of the two sections."
© Japan Committee for UNICEF
The panel of judges presenting the winning submissions (from left to right): Ken Hayami (JCU), Osamu Fukushima (Fukushima Design), Kazufumi Nagai (Hakuhodo Design), Yoshiharu Kin (National Information Center of Disaster Mental Health), Susumu Namikawa (Dentsu Social Design Engine).

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