· Forging Independence - campaign launched on August 15th as part of Independence Day celebration
· Campaign launched in 850 villages from 25 districts of Maharashtra
Mumbai, August 19th, 2019: Maharashtra Village Social Transformation Foundation (MVSTF) & United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) India as part of Independence Day celebration and to commemorate 30th year of United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC@30), launched a special campaign titled – ‘Celebrating Child Rights ‘which would focus on issues related to child rights.
Thirty years ago, world leaders made a historic commitment to the world’s children by adopting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child – an international agreement on childhood. It has become the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history and has helped transform children’s lives around the world. As part of the celebration and to further work towards the goal of child rights - MVSTF & UNICEF would run a three-month long campaign in three phases in 850 villages from 25 districts of Maharashtra. The main aim of the campaign is to reach out to people and educate them about the issues of child rights and child marriage. The purpose is to create awareness among villagers. MVSTF is the executing partner, whereas UNICEF India is the knowledge partner for the campaign.
The campaign, would be held in three phases. The first phase was launched on August 15th will focus on creating awareness about the issue at the grassroot level among the villagers. To create awareness and setup a strong base, Gram Sabhas (Village Meets) will be held to educate people about the issue Also, in the first phase Gram Sabhas would be help to pass a resolution for protection of child rights and its effective implementation. Chief Minister Rural Development Fellows (CMRDF) in their respective villages would ensue that Child Act Protection Committees are formed and activated. Also, CMRDFs would ensure to further create awareness of 10 % funds allocated for women and children as per the 14th Finance Commission. The CMRDFs would also ensure that the funds are properly used. Also, the first phase will ensure that children till the age of 18 get the best possible education for their overall development. The first phase will continue till August 30th.
The second phase, will be launched on October 11th as part of International Girl Child Day celebration. The second phase would focus on implementation of Beti Bachao & Beti Padhao scheme. Meetings and discussions will be held in schools which would focus on key issues related to child marriage. There will be discussions with Self Help Groups and also on VHNDs. The focus will be on child marriage. Also, experts from UNICEF will discuss key and critical issues with the villagers and explain them how to deal with their children on certain aspects with regards to behavioral changes. Also, UNICEF would distribute literature to schools, children and parents on the topic and would also show documentaries and films which would further throw light on the issue. The second phase will culminate on October 30.
The third phase will commence from November 14, 2019 till November 30, 2019. The last phase of the campaign will educate villagers about harmful effects of child marriage and legal remedies provided by the government. The focus would be on giving insights on why and how to prevent child marriage and how to reach out to village, district and state administration to report any wrong doing or crisis. The villagers would also be given information about various helpline and help desk numbers to report such cases.
Speaking about the campaign, Mr. Ramnath Subramaniam, CEO, MVSTF said, “Our support to UNICEF is deep rooted. We are supporting the mission to expand and reach out to villagers and aggressively tackle the issue at the grassroot level. Our partnership with UNICEF has resulted in numerous initiatives that have empowered communities at the village level. We are confident that this campaign would setup a strong base in villages to tackle the issue in the future.”
Quote from Rajeshwari Chandrasekar, Chief, Maharashtra Office: Partnership is the key to take forward the agenda of child rights. The focus for UNICEF this year is to prevent violence against children. Article 19 of UNCRC suggests: “Governments must make sure children are properly cared for and protect them from violence, abuse and neglect. Partnership with MVSTF will help to create an enabling environment for prevention of child marriage and help to reach families and communities to realize that every child has every right.