on the details of
62 villages spread across 3 blocks of Bolangir district, Odisha, India
Initially the project holder, Mr Uma Shankar Sahu, along with other associates had started a flood relief program in Bolangir. In 1992, a group of educated youth of the Loisingha block started working on social issues of the local communities under the banner of ADHAR. They also formed the farmer’s organization in the area for the benefit of the farmers and began forming self help groups in Loisinga block. They took up the drought issue at the district level and began working for a network in the region to address the issue in a larger way. The team started a model watershed in the region in order to use it as tool for advocacy. Social reformation through collective action of the vulnerable groups is the fundamental guiding principle of the team.
ADHAR works in 62 villages spread over 3 blocks – Loisingha, Turaikela and Khaprakhol, all falling within the Bolangir district of Odisha. Part of the KBK (Kalahandi-Balangir-Koraput) region of Orissa, is among the 100 poorest districts of India and ranks high in terms of incidence of malnutrition and infant mortality. Over 90% of its population lives in rural areas. Schedule tribes (ST) and schedule caste (SC) constitute 22% and 15% of the population respectively. The district is drought infested, largely due to depletion of forest cover. This has resulted in displacement of large numbers of people from their traditional work. Agriculture, daily wage labor and collection of firewood are the main sources of livelihood in this area.
The adverse factors has a bearing on the status of children in this area. Lack of adequate health care and education facilities is common. Added to this is the poor quality of services rendered, the lack of adequate infrastructure, poor quality of education, paucity in the number of teachers and caste and gender discrimination compelling children to stay away from schools. The degree of malnutrition is very high among children – mostly due to lack of proper nutrition for mothers. Insufficient job opportunities at the village level lead to large scale migration – mostly without proper registration. Workers are compelled to work for long hours with grossly inadequate compensation and under stressful conditions. Children too get into working with their family members to supplement their income. Children, particularly adolescent girls, are prone to high degree of abuse and exploitation of different forms and child marriage is also rampant in the area.
- To ensure of adequate infrastructure in schools.
- To ensure teacher’s appointment in all project villages.
- To ensure 100% enrolment in schools and preschools.
- Reduce 90% of drop out and migrant children out of the total 38.
- Formation and strengthening of new School Management Committees (SMC).
- To increase children’s participation in child collectives - ensure children’s voice is heard and recognized in society.
- To reduce child migration with opening seasonal hostel in the project area.
Achievements & Impact in the Review Period
ADHAR over the year has evolved to be a result oriented organisation. The team has planned meticulously by considering every aspect of the issues it has dealt with so far. The operational area has been mapped as critical on Education issues. The team is systematically maintaining child related data. A convergence between the issues addressed and the critical area it serves is quite visible.
ADHAR with support from CRY has tried to address issues in the operational area related children’s right to survival, education and participation. With their intervention they have tried to address issues like; Infant Mortality Ratio (IMR), Children Mortality Ratio (CMR), school dropout, child labor, child abuse, child migration and recognition of children as important stakeholders. Some of the prominent achievements include the following:
- Awareness generated among parents, community through participation in Gram Sabha and Palli Sabha.
- Community has been sensitized on the right to education and mobilized at different levels.
- 75% of drop out children have been re-enrolled into formal schools.
- The implementation of RTE ensured in project area through children’s club.
- Discussion on schools SDP (School Development Plan) initiated with involvement of entire community.
- Child participation ensured with the intention of prioritizing the best interest of the child. Children are able to identify the issues related to health, education, protection and participation.
- Collection of baseline data on migrant families in 6 Gram Panchayat of 3 blocks done, including estimation of migrant children.
- Capacity building of community institutions like Janch Committee, food committee, adolescent girls etc.
- 90% of the mothers and children have access to ICDS service.
- Child marriage has been stopped completely in the intervention area.
- Meeting was organized at district level RACRA (Regional Alliance for Child Rights Advocacy) interface and with education office.
- Village level child protection committee formed in Samelmunda.
One day one of the community organisers (CO) from the field area of ADHAR of Ratakhandi GP, found a 4 year old child Kanha Bariha of Dumerjharan village; S/O- Binod and Jayanti Bariha while he was accompanied by his father, not going to AWC (Anganwadi Centre)for studies. The concerned CO advised Binod to send Kanha to ICDS center regularly for his preschool education. But Binod informed him about the corporal punishment given to his son at the AWC due to which his son stopped going there. Kanha had left the center during the last quarter, but his name was not stricken off from the attendance register. The CO not only convinced Binod to send Kanha to the center by explaining the importance of pre-school education, but also shared the details of the corporal punishment given with the members of Child Club (Sishu Sabha) during their next meeting. On the same day, two children (both President & Secretary of the Club) went to Kanha’s home, met Jayanti and urged her to send Kanha to AWC regularly along with warning to AWC against corporal punishment. They even encouraged Kanha to join preschool. Now Kanha is going to AWC regularly and studying well.
Kanha’s parents say, “It is only because of efforts of the ADHAR team and members of Child Club, it has become possible for Kanha to continue his preschool education”.
The team will focus on issues of Education with some intervention in the areas of protection and participation . The broad Plans for the coming year are as follows:
Focus 1: Reducing child labor from all operational villages
- To ensure at least 40% children in the age of 6-14 are retained at 62 schools.
- To ensure at least 40% children in the age group 3-6 are retained at 77 pre-schools/ICDS.
- To ensure at least 40% of parents send children for pre-school education.
- To ensure 50% irregular children are regularized in schools.
- To ensure child participation in 62 school management committees.
- Sensitisation of different stakeholders on inclusive education according to Right to Education.
- To increase children’s participation in child collective processes through education, awareness and capacity building of children.
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