Every child has the constitutional right to be safeguarded from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. Often, children face atrocities at places where they should be most protected, i.e., home, school and community. India has a fairly comprehensive policy and legal framework to address the rights and protection of children. However, there are gaps in the implementation of such policies, laws and schemes, poor capacities, inadequate resources, etc., have resulted in the most deprived, excluded and vulnerable children of communities without access to these services and benefits.
ChildFund India envisions that all children live in a protective and enabling environment, free from abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence. Child protection is intrinsically woven into all our programs as we believe abuse of any sort threatens a child’s health, learning opportunities and other development areas. Apart from an integrated component, our Child Protection Program is implemented as an absolute intervention throughout our program implementation regions to protect children from the odds. The program brings sustainable institutionalized solutions by adopting a multi-pronged approach to end violence against children.
- Support families to promote their children’s well-being within safe environments
- Educate communities about children’s need for protection
- Empower children to understand and embrace their rights to protection
- Collaborate with like-minded stakeholders to establish robust child protection systems
Devising Child Protection Mechanism
Village Child Protection Committees
Village Child Protection Committees engage with and build capacities of communities on child protection, support them in identifying, mitigating and addressing child protection risks and issues with the support of community-based organizations such as child groups, parent groups and Gram Panchayat.
In 2019-20, 328 Village Child Protection Committees, 202 child groups and 137 parent groups were formed, while 27 Panchayat-level and 8 block-level Child Protection Committees were formed across Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Bihar, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
People’s Leadership on Child Protection
Strengthening ‘People’s Leadership on Child Protection’ focuses on educating children, parents and other community stakeholders on child protection to build community ownership. Under this intervention, we organize stakeholder meetings, which include parents, children, youth, child protection committee members and village and community leaders to discuss issues such as child protection laws, referral pathways, child protection risks, protective factors, etc.
Safeguarding Policy Compliance
Reinforce ‘Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy Compliance’ ensures that partners understand the issue, need and mechanism of child protection. Thus, under this intervention, we conduct compliance training for implementation partners, emphasizing the need to adhere to safeguarding protocols and internal reporting mechanisms to ensure that all incidents of child abuse are reported. In 2019-20, we conducted training sessions for 29 implementing partners.
Community-led Micro Planning Exercise
ChildFund India’s ‘Community-led Micro Planning Exercise’ trains community members to identify problems, reasons, solutions and actions based on development indicators that impact children and adolescents. In 2019-20, ‘Slum Action Plans’ were developed across 8 Mohallas in Firozabad, Uttar Pradesh to identify problems, define solutions and actions and track monthly progress. In the coming years, this initiative will be scaled to 22 other Mohallas in the city.
Networking and Advocacy
Supporting National Civil Society Initiatives
At the macro level, ChildFund India actively contributes to national civil society initiatives particularly the ‘Joining Forces for Children – India, Alliance’ which is committed to advocating for the rights of children and increased accountability to end violence against children in India.
Promoting CSO Networks
We promote state CSO Networks in priority states to collectively advocate for redressal of current and emerging child protection issues on the ground and support effective coordination/convergence at all levels for improved referral and response services. These networks comprise local partners and are led by respective lead partners in a state, who regularly interact with Panchayati Raj Institutions, block- and district-level authorities to address core community child protection issues. So far, 4 state-level ‘CSO Networks’ have been formed in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Odisha and Jharkhand to address child protection issues and referral systems through supportive advocacy and collaborations.
Protective, Enabling, Accountable and Child-friendly Environment (PEACE)
The PEACE project, supported by FORUM SYD Barnfonden – ChildFund Sweden, is implemented in 50 villages of Gogunda block, Udaipur, Rajasthan. The PEACE project works towards reducing risks and incidences of violence against children by creating a safe and secure environment for them at home, school and community. It is done through awareness, knowledge and capacity building on child protection of the rights holders and duty bearers in the target communities. During the project period, 2019-21, over 7500 community members were engaged on the issues through folk-art focused programs such as puppet shows and street plays. Also, child rights clubs and adolescent girl’s groups covering 480 members across 48 schools have been formed in 12 panchayats. And, to increase income and promote stability, a total of 1810 vulnerable families received livelihood support and at least 100 farmer clubs have been formed.
Delhi Urban Child Development Project
Delhi Urban Child Development Project works in 8 slums of South and South East districts of Delhi. In 2020, 4 Child Clubs, comprising of 80 children and 7 Mothers Groups, comprising of 58 mothers were formed, along with one Child Resource Center for 80 children.
DISHA – Preventing Child Labor
DISHA promotes sustainable community-based strategies to prevent child labor in Firozabad, Uttar Pradesh. DISHA brings children out of labor by providing health, education and livelihood support within communities. Four model centers have been established to provide integrated child development services to the children living in slums. Also, a sustainable livelihood center called ‘DAKSH’ provides vocational training and coaching on personality development, spoken English and entrepreneurship to youth. Under DISHA, selected children of Firozabad slums were trained as child reporters to help identify child protection issues in their communities and write stories and send letters to concerned authorities such as the Police officials, Bal Mitra Thanas, local leaders, SMCs, PRIs, etc., to encourage responsiveness and action by the authorities.
ChildFund India’s Child Protection Program contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16.2, which aims to ‘End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children’.