Children and adolescents are the future citizens of the country. So, to enrich their lives and safeguard the future, we need to make our society child friendly. To protect children’s rights and foster their holistic development, they need to be nurtured in an enabling environment. With this novel idea, the district administration has launched a new programme towards making Sundargarh a Child Friendly District.
Supported by District Mineral Foundation (DMF), the programme is going to cover all 279 Gram Panchayats in the district. Such an initiative by the Sundargarh district administration is a first of its kind across the country.
To manage the programme, implementing partner agency Youth for Social Development has been assigned work at 8 blocks of the district while another organisation DISHA is set to manage the programme in 9 other blocks. A training programme was held recently at Bisra to orient the block coordinators who are engaged as the frontline workers across all 17 blocks. The 3 day programme was inaugurated by CEO DMF Maheshwar Chandra Naik.
To make Sundargarh conducive for the growth and development of children, various interventions have been initiated at the GP Level. The Block Coordinators will make presentations on facts and data gathered from the grassroots level with reference to various child development indicators. Different government departments will thus consider such grassroots input while formulating various child welfare programmes.
The new initiative focuses on active community participation to realise children’s needs and adopt means to fulfil the same. The Block Coordinators will connect with field functionaries like Anganwadi workers, ANMs, ASHA workers, PRI Members, teachers, doctors and other stakeholders to make them contribute in this process.
At the GP level, a ‘Child Rights Protection Committee’ will be formed with parents, school management committee, mothers committee, PRI members, and other service providers. At the meeting of the committee, issues relating to children’s nutrition, drinking water, sanitation, education & health, hygiene and safety will be taken up. Children will be trained to participate in these meetings and represent their cause.
The primary objectives of Child Friendly Sundargarh programme are to ensure protection of child rights, end child marriage, abolish child labour, putting an end to child trafficking, stopping abuse and violence against children. Moreover, focus will be on ensuring right to education for children and prevent school dropouts. Ultimately, the programme intends to facilitate a nurturing environment so that each child can get an opportunity for physical, cognitive and holistic growth.
Different programmes have been taken up towards mother & child development in Sundargarh district. Special nutrition drives like Spirulina Chikki and sugar and Ragi Laddu distribution are operational for children. Thus, the Child Friendly Sundargarh initiative will also focus on ensuring the benefits and entitlements of children under various government schemes and programmes in the district.
As a result of this programme, children’s issues will be prioritised in the Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP) and budget allocation to be made to fulfil the same through various programmes.
Towards successful implementation of the programme, a three tier monitoring mechanism has been instituted. The GP level committee will function under the Sarpanch. Similarly the Block Level Committee led by the Block Chairman & BDOs will review the child development process at all Panchayats. At the top, the committee headed by the Collector will take stock of the programme across the district and chart the course of action from time to time.