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About the Implementing organization

Aamjhar Bal Panchyat – Child Parliament

Country: India

Year of establishment: 2015

Type of organization: Community-based association or organization, Legally recognized non-profit status, Public-private partnership

Description

Before the Child Parliament was formed in 2015, almost all children were working in local mines, the school was not functional and the village was living hand-to-mouth. In 2015 things changed when the village together adopted the Bal Mitra Gram, a vision of Kailash Satyarthi (Nobel Laureate 2014). The Bal Mitra Gram – Child Friendly Village and its work enforces that

• The village withdraws all students from work.

• All children enrolled at school

• Children form a Child Parliament and become the representatives and change makers who are recognized and listened by the village Panchayat (Parliament)

• Formation of the Youth Groups

• Women also become stronger and more confident and work with village and children’s Parliament

• Most importantly access to education, ensures access to rights, and to government programs, midday school meals, water, sanitation, services for ultra-poor – Below Poverty Level ration trucks, etc.

• Zero tolerance towards child marriage and trafficking

Most importantly although the Child Parliament is guided by the activist of KSCF in the short term, the success of the children’s parliament is based on the activism and dedicated work of all children not only just the members of the Child Parliament. The Child Parliament is also guided by a village adult Advisory Committee.

Our children’s parliament is able to interact with other Child Parliament members in the district and often act from a position of power for their rights, an example is that we may have to en-masses from our village join with the children from another village to stop a child marriage and often as a team go to the police authorities, this can only be done when a major movement has been created.

So although we are part of a larger child rights movement, we are also dependent on our own strengths to make things happen. Whilst we respect our community, Elders and leaders, the CFV/CP brings new thinking to the village community, fueled by the idealism of young people, we and the children parliament now aware about the basic right to have clean water, education, freedom from debt bondage and other rights. We are enabling the village to have a future, whilst respecting everyone in the community.

Nature Element

Forests︱Mountains

Type of Action

Ecosystem protection︱Sustainable use of natural resources︱Policy influence︱Sustainable corporate supply chains

Sustainable Development Element

Food security︱Education︱Water security︱Peace and security

Related Sustainable Development Goal(s)

        

Environmental Impacts

As said above, our Tribal heritage and closeness to nature allows us to understand that our future is linked to the survival of the forests we live in. We need to protect the forests, we hope to share our experiences and heritage with other villages to help them also to understand the importance of protecting the forests. If not too dangerous, we will also keep a look out for the mines so that they do not destroy the forests.

As a tribal community, they have been always close to the nature and environment. After the initiative, the community improved its awareness about the importance of the environment. A reducation in pollution through the use of LPG gas has been initiated.

In the community, they are now more empowered by the fact that children live in a place where they can feel and stay healthy.


CLIMATE IMPACTS

All of the village recognizes that the climate has changed and that we need to adapt. For example, in the winter we need to buy a sweater (which is not easy due to lack of money) and the water has become more scarce. Our tribal heritage and closeness to nature allows us to understand that our future is linked to the survival of the forests we live in. We need to protect the forests, yet we also need to use the wood to cook. We are working to protect the forests and are replanting trees and are reducing the use of firewood as the village now has access to governments schemes that supply LPG gas and cookers to the village. The use of firewood was creating major issues regarding lung health. The firewood was emitting higher level of pollution which has been controlled by the use of LPG gas. Since the CFV, over 30 families now have access to the Ujjwala Scheme (Free Cooking Gas Cylinder with Stove).

Sustainable Development Impacts

Our CP and children of the village were involved positively in so many, as below:

1. No Poverty – There are government schemes like MNREGA for the livelihood.

2: Zero Hunger – as above.

3: Good Health and Well-being – education includes midday meals and we have access to health camps and vaccination.

4: Quality Education – this is our right and we are demanding it.

5: Gender Equality – our CP is equal for girls and boys

6: Clean Water and Sanitation – Handpumps were installed and repaired.

10: Reduced Inequality – encouraging all for the participation.

13: Climate Action – we are working to protect our forests

16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions – we live in an area that has Naxalite (Maoist Guerillas) challenges, we believe that this work will decrease these challenges.

17. Partnerships to achieve the Goal – Networking with local and national bodies. Reach out and discussion space with other state CPs.


RESILIENCE, ADAPTABILITY, AND SELF-SUFFICIENCY

In 2015 our village was living in hand to mouth condition. Almost every child from the day they could walk was working in collecting mica to earn money, there was no functioning school, widespread hunger and no access to clean water. Most importantly, they had no idea that there were laws, such as the right to education, trafficking of children was illegal as was child marriage and we as children had rights under the law of India.

This has now changed as the village has education, understand and demand the legal rights and share this knowledge with others. There is an understanding and awareness about the right to information law and are able to check that the village is receiving social security programs as per our right.

We believe that we are the new India, boys and girls equally. We believe our work is sustainable, simply because it is the children and the women who monitor the implementation of rights. We know that in many years’ time, this will become even more powerful.As above, we also understand that centuries of marginalization will take time to dismantle, yet we believe we are at the forefront of this. Children are not born with a perception of being marginalized or marginalizing others-- this can and is being broken at an early age. Sometimes this can be dangerous especially with older people with entrenched thoughts, yet we are making this happen, not on our own but as a major movement of children from villages of all backgrounds. Children can change the world.

Children are the future of the country. The preconceived notions and myths which were present in the communities as a barrier to growth has been challenged by the children themselves. Still, there are many incidences of advocacy which is done by the children along with the stakeholder groups to avail the rights.

Historically female children have been in the unequal position and in the CFV it has been strongly challenged, which has made the girls go beyond their limits to avail higher education and to become independent.


REDUCED INEQUALITIES

As above, we also understand that centuries of marginalization will take time to dismantle, yet we believe we are at the forefront of this. Children are not born with a perception of being marginalized or marginalizing others-- this can and is being broken at an early age. Sometimes this can be dangerous especially with older people with entrenched thoughts, yet we are making this happen, not on our own but as a major movement of children from villages of all backgrounds. Children can change the world.

Children are the future of the country. The preconceived notions and myths which were present in the communities as a barrier to growth has been challenged by the children themselves. Still, there are many incidences of advocacy which is done by the children along with the stakeholder groups to avail the rights.

Historically female children have been in the unequal position and in the CFV it has been strongly challenged, which has made the girls go beyond their limits to avail higher education and to become independent.


GENDER EQUALITY

As explained above, women are part of the BMG and powerful Women’s Groups are formed. Our Child Parliament formed has 11 members, 6 of which are girls. The initiative has always focused on encouraging the confidence and participation of girls. Girls are now challenging the traditional norms themselves and participating to create spaces where every child can have a safe and healthy childhood.


SOCIAL INCLUSION

As explained above this is a children’s movement, children do not have an entrenched prejudice, this is learnt. We are learning and teaching by example that this can and must change. An important part of the Child Friendly Village program is that women’s groups are formed and become even stronger as girls from the CP become older and join the Women’s groups. It is important that women’s issues and needs are made clear. In our village, we now have 4 handpumps that the women and girls demanded and locally simple repairs can be made to avail safe drinking water. Since 2015, regular vaccination is taking place, women receive LPG gas equipment and our village has an Anganwadi Center and a rural child care centre in India as part of the Integrated Child Development Services. The above mainly happened due to the requests from children from the CP and women groups, showing that now children (girls and boys) and women are being listened to and their requests happen.

Most importantly for women’s and girls safety as well as hygiene, there is toilet via Construction under Swachh Bharat (Clean India).

Scalability

Our Child Parliament and Bal Mitra Gram are part of a movement of Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, and our work in Oct 2018 was recognized as a model to eliminate child labour in the mica mining area and a new State backed program in partnership with KSCF is now happening to totally eliminate all children working in the mica mines. We are proud to be part of this and even prouder that our village was asked to welcome the chief minister of Jharkhand to the “Towards Child Free Mica” meeting on the 28th Oct 2018. We were proud to represent all the children of the mica mining area. When we met with the minister and Kailash Satyarthi, it was a proud moment for our village and for the children of our village.

Replicability

As said, the CP/Bal Mitra Gram has been evolving particularly in the State of Jharkhand since 2007 from 9 villages to over 140 villages and in the whole of India over 500 villages. Not only is this replicable, but there are state-wide meetings held yearly where we can meet and swap ideas and become stronger. The CP/BMG has the potential to be a model for India and the world. There is also a National Level Children Parliament which has been constituted in which children representatives come together to discuss the issues which are present in their states.

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