Raipur : CONCLUDING DAY OF TWO-DAY NATIONAL CONSULTATION ON INNOVATING FOR CHILDREN
Strengthen and empower families so that institutionalization becomes the last resort :Ms. ForooghFoyouzat, UNICEF India
We should start respecting children and their basic needs : Mr. Sunil Kumar
Second day of the consultation marked session on Child Participation and Presentation of Raipur Declaration
Raipur, 22 September 2017
We should start respecting children and understand the importance of their participation and involvement in building a healthy society. We need to have a narrative in public domain on the need of families to own up to their children’s requirements. Smart Governance at gram panchayat-level, ward-level,mohalla-level, community-level, wherein these institutionshave the right to intervene in redressal of issues related to children, parenting and family environment, is what we require currently. Grass-root institutions should be strengthened to encourage and catalyze the problem-solving approach and process. Universities should take up the responsibility to do contextual research on social sciences, especially on the child survival, development, protection and participation in various parts of state to provide required recommendations to the government, said Mr. Sunil Kumar, Vice-Chairman, State Planning Commission, Chhattisgarh, while chairing the concluding session of the national consultation on ‘innovating for children’ held in Raipur today.
Chief of Field Services, UNICEF India, ForooghFoyouzat opined that innovation is not about technology alone, in fact it is about creative thinking, solution finding approach andfinally problem solving. The representations in the consultation demonstrated how we can think out of the box, while talking about child issues and addressing them. Factors such as inequity, gender-based challenges and limited or no access to services should be the top priorities while redressing the problems surrounding child welfare.
Summarizing the discussions held during the four sessions of the national consultation, Deputy Representative UNICEF India, Ms Henriette Ahrens underlined the need of ‘right-based approach’ over ‘need-basedapproach’, considering the child as centre of the schemes, seeing them as a full human being. The consultation had presentations and revelations from a total of 12 states of the country, throwing light on the innovations already made to facilitate the children of the society.
The need to have right based approach views the child as the nucleus and considers him/her a full human being, hence not divided in scheme. Initial years in the life of a child are the most important as that is the foundation. Child survival, mind stimulation and nutrition and investment in prevention are crucial aspects.
On the second day of the two-day national consultation on ‘Innovating for Children’ organized byChhattisgarh State Planning Commission , in partnership with UNICEF and Department of Women and Child Development, fourth session of the consultation was held on the topic ‘Child Participation’ and sub-theme of the session was ‘Create an enabling environment and opportunities to actively involve children in all matters concerning them’. General Secretary, Prayas, Mr.Amod K Kanth along with Joint Secretary Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India (Child Protection) Ms. AasthaSaxenaKhatwani; Project Director Plan India New DelhiDr RochanaMitra and Prof. VasukiBelavadi, UNESCO Chair on Community Media on Children as Media Producers, were the panelists for this session.
In this session on Child Participation, innovators namely Mr. R Prasanna, Commissioner Health Services Government of Chhattisgarh, Mr. OP Choudhary, Collector and District Magistrate Raipur, Mr. Rajesh Singh, Director ICPS, Government of Jharkhand, Mr. Ravi Dhanuka, Prime Minter’s Rural Development Fellow and Mr. TusharRane from UNICEF, gave presentation covering the sub-themes such as partnership for innovations in child-centric policies, planning, institutional framework, creating psycho-social environment for innovation, community-based innovations, and leveraging the use of technology for addressing issues related to well-being of children.
Mr. R Prasanna talked about the various schemes and services of Government of Chhattisgarh for children of all age groups. Mr. Ravi Dhanuka, Prime Minister’s Rural Development Fellow, gave presentation on ‘I-Saksham’ initiative in Bihar, which works for providing capacity building facility, training in best teaching practices, access to digital content, orientation on how to use government textbooks, and institutional linkages to youth assisting in delivery of public services such as education.Mr. TusharRane, UNICEF Adolescent Participation, shared his experiences on space for adolescent participation in Assam. In Assam, UNICEF in association with Tea Management Association has formed adolescent groups and mother support groups among labourers working in tea gardens, which have played significant role in prevention of child labour and has further made tea gardens open-defecation free, helped them open bank accounts and redressed other related issues. He also talked about the initiative with IOFL Shillong, where youngsters have been trained as journalists to report issues related to children in society. Through these initiatives they have made an agenda for child protection, participation and welfare, and have submitted it to Government of Assam.
District Collector and District Magistrate Raipur, Mr. OP Choudhary, in his presentation on ‘Raipur’s Transparent RTE System’, emphasized that the time has come to focus on Right to Equal Education rather than just Right to Education. One of the ways to do it is to enhance quality of education in government schools, state government is creating smart schools, smart aanganbadis, and is working tirelessly towards ensuring to provide equal education opportunities to children of state, and transparent implementation of Right to Education. He cited example of Jahnvi, a girl from poor family, who got admission in Rajkumar College, one of the premiere institution in the city. He also pointed out the challenges faced in ensuring admission of under-privileged children in private education institutes of the city is a challenging task. He mentioned how State Government hasdeveloped MIS- online interface for application of admission under RTE that has contributed drastically in transparent tracking of the applications. It was surprising to see that 91% applications from under-privileged families chose online mode over offline mode of applying for admission under RTE. Government also formulated online lottery system to ensure unbiased selection of application under RTE. These innovations have significantly increased the number of online applications received, number of seats allotted and number of admissions taken in. He also said that not all the problems faced in the implementation have been solved there are a few hurdles that still persist. Government is also processing a plan of community tuition to solve the post-admission problems of children taking admission under RTE. He wrapped up his presentation with the thought- ‘Minds of Margins are not Marginal Minds.’
The conclusion of the final session marked presentation of Raipur Declaration Draft following which the vote of thanks was presented by Dr. M. Geetha, Secretary, Department of women ad Child Development, Chhattisgarh.
The Raipur Declaration listed the following points:
- To ‘leave no child behind’, so that every child survives, thrives and learns in a healthy, clean, safe, supportive, protected, inclusive and equitable environment and, has a fair chance to realize his or her full potential in life with a special emphasis on first 1000 days of a child’s life.
- The urgent need and call for a unified effort towards building an enabling environment for children by reorienting the mindset and developing comprehensive and cross-sectoral policies and plans for child survival and development.
- To encourage and promote innovations for children to develop evidence-based, replicable/scalable/sustainable solutions for issues concerning children duly stated in the National Plan of Action for Children 2016 and Sustainable Developmental Goals.
- To recommit ourselves to identify and address gaps for effective implementation of schemes and programmes and support governance solutions by empowering and building trust in the communities, as well as, innovative partnership models involving organically created community based mechanisms ensuring accountability.
- To address existing and emerging concerns relating to survival, protection development and participation of children.
- To strengthen institutional capacity and related infrastructure with adequate and skilled human and other resources for children and ensure their active age relevant participation in designing policies and programmes based on real time data using appropriate technologies.
- To strengthen and empower families to parenting skills, social protection schemes and programmes among others, so that institutionalization becomes the last resort.
Notably, Vice Chairman of SPC, Mr. Sunil Kumar has also assured that he will persuade the Government to implement this declaration.