Interface of Excluded Children with Duty-bearers
Bal Adhikar Samvaad – Interface of excluded children with structures of local governance was organised under the project Stronger Voice to Excluded Children in Government and NGO Policies and Programmes at CHD on February 09, 2010.
The objective of this meeting was to provide an opportunity to the excluded children to have an interface with government officials and raise their awareness level about child-related schemes and discuss the role of Bal Panchayats for effective implementation of such schemes. Jitendera Ojha, Block Programme Manager, National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), highlighted the importance of proper nutrition and health of children. He provided information about Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), ante-natal and pre-natal check-ups of pregnant women and other schemes of health department.
Meena Sharma, Deputy Director, Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, discussed in detail the provisions and process for availing the benefit of widow pension, old age pension and Palanhar scheme. Raghunanda Moud, Field Co-ordinator, Department of Labour, described the government’s initiative of addressing child labour through National Child Labour Project. 50 children and 20 animators were present.
Assessing Learning Levels of Children
Learning Level Assessment of students of Class III to V of nine government schools under the IQEEP was conducted on February 09, 10 and 22, 2010 respectively. In this survey, 383 children, including 197 girls, participated in the written and verbal test. The purpose of this survey was to study and compare the data with one such survey conducted in September 2009 to know the increase in the learning level of children. This survey was conducted by Madan Keer, Sanjay Moud, Neetu Joshi, Chanda Jaat, Krishna Taneja, Nirmala Nayak and Ratandas.
Public Meeting on Quality Education
Jan Sammelan (public meeting) under the IQEEP was held at CHD on February 11, 2010. The purpose of the meeting was to bring stakeholders, policy makers and government officials on the same platform to discuss the problems of quality education and encourage them for co-ordinated effort for addressing the problems. Welcoming the guests, Ashish Tripathi, Acting Centre Coordinator, said that education is one of the most important means of empowering children with the knowledge, skills and self-confidence necessary to participate fully in the developmental process.
Harish Chandra Gaud, Block Education Officer; Shyam Sundar Sharma, Additional Block Education Officer; Jitendra Ojha, Block Programme Manager, NRHM; Shabiruddin, Child Development Project Officer, Chittorgarh (Rural); and Sarpanches of Semaliya and Sehnava Gram Panchayats attended the programme and expressed their views on quality education. Madan Giri Goswami briefly described the advocacy efforts undertaken by CUTS in ensuring quality education in the district. Sanjay Moud shared the findings of the learning level assessment survey. Animator Laxmi Sen, Deepak Lohar, Ratan Das and Bal Panchayat members Bhavna and Mamta detailed the efforts made by Bal Panchayats at village level.
The meeting was attended by stakeholders of IQEEP project, especially the members of School Development and Monitoring Committee (SDMC) and Bal Panchayat office bearers. About 300 participants attended the programme. IQEEP Newsletter, Bal Darpan, was released on this occasion.
Campaign against Child Labour
Child labour persists even where it has been declared illegal and is frequently surrounded by a wall of silence, indifference and apathy. The Campaign against Child Labour was organised in February 2010 in Stronger Voice to Excluded Children in Government and NGO Policies and Programmes project villages, where the message was communicated in the Bal Sabha, the Bal Panchayat and community meetings, with the help of campaign against child labour 2010 pamphlets. Rallies were organised in selected villages, with the help of schools, where the incidence of child labour is very high.
On February 17, 2010 rallies were organised in villages Shambhupura and Ghatiyawali. In Shambhupura, Kaali Bai, Sarpanch Shambhpura, and Raghunandan Moud, Field Coordinator, Labour Department, jointly flagged off the rally. In Ghatiyavalli, Bhagwani Bai, Sarpanch Ghatiyavali, flagged off the rally. Rallies were also taken out in villages Sawa and Eral on February 20, 2010.
Training of Government School Teachers on Quality Education
A one-day Teachers’ Training under IQEEP was organised at CHD on February 18, 2010. 34 teachers from 33 project schools of 28 villages participated in this training. Stressing on the importance of community participation in school education, Giriraj Sharma, Headmaster Government Upper Primary School, Raghnathpura, said that proper meetings of School Development and Management Committee (SDMC) can play a major role in proper management and conduct of school activities. He further highlighted that it is the responsibility of teachers to make community aware about the roles and responsibilities of SDMC members.
Bhairushankar Purohit, Senior Librarian, Government Secondary School, Ghosunda, said that books are the best friends and teachers must ensure that the books in school libraries are transacted with children and do not just remain showcased in the cupboards. He shared some of the best practices of school library management. Pradeep Dixit, Additional District Project Coordinator, SSA, emphasised that collective efforts should be initiated by the stakeholders for attaining quality education. He informed that Chittorgarh is leading in Quality Assurance Programme in Rajasthan, in which CUTS has contributed substantially through its concerted efforts.
Children Learn to Generate IEC
One workshop to train children to generate IEC material was held at CHD on February 18-19, 2010 under the project Stronger Voice to Excluded Children in Government and NGO Policies and Programmes. About 100 children from 28 villages and 24 animators participated in this workshop. The workshop started with making paper caps and ice-breaking games. This was followed by group discussions on child rights, child labour, ill-effects of child marriage, problems faced by excluded children in attending school, importance of activity-based teaching-learning, climate change, etc.
After the discussion, children made drawings and wrote poems, stories and jokes on these topics. Pradeep Dixit, Additional District Project Co-ordinator, SSA, praising the efforts of CUTS, said that such initiatives should be taken regularly to raise the interest of excluded children in school education. Rajiv Nagpal, Programme Coordinator, Save the Children, participated in group discussions with the children and the staff.
Orientation of Teachers on Social Exclusion and Child Rights
A one-day Teachers’ orientation on ‘Social Exclusion and Child Rights’ was held at CHD on February 22, 2010 under the project Stronger Voice to Excluded Children in Government and NGO Policies and Programmes. The purpose of this workshop was to sensitise the teachers towards the needs of excluded children from a child rights perspective.
In the welcome speech, Ashish Tripathi, Acting Centre Coordinator, CHD, said that our society is divided into fragments by barriers of caste, class, gender, economic conditions, etc., due to which the gap between the poor and the rich is wide and is getting wider with each passing day. In such a situation, the dream of India becoming a developed nation can never be realised. Education is one such right that only can empower excluded children to realise their other rights. The role of teachers is of utmost importance in ensuring education to excluded children.
Anil Vyas, President Arunoday Sansthan and Child Rights Activist, discussed in detail the history and origin of Child Rights and conducted group exercises among teachers on how child rights are violated in the schools and what teachers can do to ensure the rights of each and every child, with special focus on excluded children.
Suresh Sharma, Retired Additional District Project Co-ordinator, SSA, lamented the fact that still a large number of children are out of school and there is a huge discrepancy in the actual number and the number reported by schools. He highlighted the problems faced by excluded children in attending government schools and requested teachers to be more sensitive to the needs of such children and make efforts to make schools more child–friendly, so that no child is left behind.
District Level Consultation with Key Duty Bearers
One District Level Consultation Meeting of Key Duty Bearers under IQEEP was organised at CHD on February 23, 2010. The purpose of this consultation was to share the learning and issues emerging from the project with district level duty-bearers and seek their co-operation in addressing the challenges.
Mitthulal Jaat, Up Jila Pramukh, was the Chief Guest on this occasion. He said that education is the source of knowledge. Teachers should teach children with dedication. Blaming the teachers will not bring quality in education, rather all the stakeholders must come together and take the responsibility of ensuring quality education to each child.
Meena Raghani, Principal DIET, said that CUTS is engaging constructively with the education department and SSA, but still a large number of children are out of school. We need to make more intensive efforts to bring these children into schools and ensure that they continue their school education.
Ikram Ajmeri, Assistant District Project Co-ordinator, SSA; Surya Prakash, Block Resource Centre Chittorgarh failitator; Laxmi Narayan Sharma, Department of Social Justice and Empowerment; and Badri Meghwal, member Chittorgarh Panchayat Samiti; Animators; and Bal Panchayat office-bearers shared their experience and views.
Orientation of Health Department Officials on Child Rights
A one-day Orientation workshop of Health Department Officials was organised at CHD on February 24, 2010 under the project Stronger Voice to Excluded Children in Government and NGO Policies and Programmes. The purpose of the workshop was to orient the Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs), Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) and Anganwari workers to child health and child rights.
Vijay Kantiya, Retired Chief Medical and Health Officer (CMHO), emphasised upon the regularity of vaccination, nutrition and care of malnourished children. He urged the participants to look at the services provided by them from a child rights perspective.
Jitendra Ojha, Block Programme Manager, NRHM, stressed on the availability of nutritional food in remote areas, significance of breastfeeding and child psychology and behaviour. He linked all the services provided by health officials with children’s right to life and development. 40 participants, including one LHV, six ANMs, two Anganwari workers, 25 ASHA Sahayoginis and CUTS staff attended the workshop.
District Level Consultation on Climate Change
One District Level Consultation on ‘Climate Change – Challenges and Possibilities’ was held at CHD under the National Environment Awareness Campaign (NEAC) 2009-10 on February 25, 2010. The purpose of the workshop was to deliberate on the increasing problem of Climate Change, the arising challenges and possible alternatives for adaptation and mitigation.
Mitthulal Jaat, Up Zila Pramukh, was the chief guest on this occasion. He stressed on the need of environment protection. Bhagwat Singh Tanwar, President Aravali Jal Evam Paryavaran Seva Sansthan, expressing concern over rising temperature, said that equilibrium needs to be maintained between space, time and energy to fight climate change. Dinesh Joshi, President District NGO Forum; Pankaj Yadav, DDM Nabard; Anil Vyas, President Arunoday Sansthan; and Govardhan Lal Palod, Senior Citizens Forum, also expressed their views.
Depicting the impact of climate change on earth and humans, a documentary film, ‘Inconvenient Truth, was also screened. One poster, Chhota Kadam Bada Parivartan (meaning: small step big change), published by CUTS, was also released by the guests.
LSE Training of Children’s Collective
Life skill education training of Bal Sabha members was organised in 12 project villages at the school level in February 2010. In this training, CUTS staff Neetu Joshi, Sanajy Moud, Chanda Jaat, Madan Lal Keer and animators Ratandas, Krishna Taneja and Kishan Lal were the resource persons. Life skill education manual, published by Save the Children, was used as the guideline and the content was delivered in an activity-based and participatory manner through role-plays, games, poems, stories, etc. The staff of concerned schools praised the efforts of CUTS and said that such training should be conducted regularly. About 565 children, including 290 girls, benefited from this training.
Campaign against Child Marriage
Campaign against Child Marriage was organised in 28 villages under the project Stronger Voice to Excluded Children in Government and NGO Policies and Programmes in the month of February. The purpose of this campaign was to increase awareness on the menace of child marriage, by involving children to advocate against child marriage.
During the Bal Sabha, the Bal Panchayat and community meetings, the enormous scale and intensity of the social malady of child marriage and laws prohibiting it were discussed with the help of a pamphlet. In this campaign, a rally was organised in villages where the incidences of child marriage are very high, with the support of schools. The media was involved in this campaign by issuing press release, which resulted in good coverage of the issue in three leading newspapers, Rajasthan Patrika, Dainik Bhaskar and Dainik Navjyoti.
Training of SDMC (child members)
A three-day residential training of children, who are SDMC members, was held at CHD on February 25-27, 2010. The purpose of this training was to create awareness among children about their rights and duties as SDMC members. 45 children from 33 SDMCs of 28 villages participated in this training. The training was facilitated by independent consultants Kamal Kishore and Manisha.