on the details of
West Champaran District, Bihar
Thematic Intervention: Education, Protection
DEEP got registered in the year of 1991, under Society Registration Act, with an objective of mobilizing marginalized community for issue based movement for their rights with education as an entry point and started working in the Gaunaha block with Tharu community where he during early year use to visit through Sewa Prakalp and was aware of their issues. The project holder, Mr. Sushil Prasad Shashank, initiated many projects on child education, child labour, successfully ran NFE center, strengthened the organization of Tharu Community, supported their cause for ST status and rights over Forest, etc. Presently, the organization is working to make the School and ICDS system functional with support from the community and Community based organizations.
Ramnagar is one of the 18 blocks in West Champaran district situated in the lap of hills and forest bordering to Nepal. The operational villages are basically owned by the Tharu Tribe, Oraon and very minimal percentage of minorities and Dalit communities.
Access, availability and quality of ICDS center:- The Tharu communities are mostly agricultural labourers and largely depended on the agricultural economy. The poor connectivity and difficult geographical area is the prominent reason for poor access to the Govt services. As far as Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) and its access and quality is concern there are several issues. In the operational area it has been observed that there are 24 wards and 20 ICDS centers catering to the needs of the children but there are large numbers of children who are not reached by the ICDS centers as one ICDS center is catering to 40 children in 3- 6 years age group.
Poor thrust on PSE (Pre-School Education):- The ICDS centers are operating without proper infrastructure and mostly serving the SNP aspect. The Pre-school education is not prioritized by the ICDS workers and even they are not properly oriented on the curriculum, process and usages of the TLM materials. It has been observed that the CDPO generally purchased the TLM materials and distributed it amongst the center but the usages and the weekly plans are missing.
Community perspectives and power dynamics:- In other hand the mothers and large communities do not even understand the importance of the PSE as foundation of the childhood. It has been also observed that, the ICDS workers belong to the power center in the village and has close link with the local media and CDPO. Therefore, the issues of poor functioning, lack of accountability never surfaced up in the public domain.
Access and quality of the schools:- The children have admission in the nearby government schools but the infrastructure facilities in schools are not as per the RTE norms. There is one Higher secondary school which is 15 km away from the operational area. Interestingly most of the primary schools have been upgraded to middle school without proper infrastructure and adequate skilled teachers. Inadequate teachers, poor quality of teaching, huge gaps in RTE infrastructure compliances are the compelling factors of children being dropped out and very poor interest exhibited by the parents. The teacher’s nexus with the powerful villagers, Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI) members, and Community Based Organisation’s (CBO) members make them immune from any kind of actions.
- To ensure in 24 villages, 100% children in 3- 6 years are enrolled in ICDS.
- To ensure in 24 villages, 100% children are retained in schools in 6-14 years.
- To ensure milestones of the RTE Act is implemented.
- To ensure reduction in child labour in 24 operational villages in intervention areas (6-14 years).
- To ensure preventive programs to be implemented in 24 villages for addressing child marriage through a comprehensive program.
Achievements & Impact in the Review Period
In this period, DEEP had put their immense effort and process to initiate the activation of the Government service institutions and bring positive mindset change in the community. Under the ambit of education issues, the Pre-School Education (PSE) and elementary education issues have put in POA (Plan of Action). As the institutional systems and delivery mechanisms were not in place and therefore significant effort was made to place all those institutions in the operational area. To do that, DEEP mobilized local youth forces and traditional governance units and sensitized them to take up actions in form of advocacy with the micro level officials placed in block level. In one hand community mobilization and other hand model building demonstration strategy has been adopted to scale up the impact in the field. As per protection issue is concerned, DEEP has been successful to, mobilise the children groups and informed them on various facets of child protection, vulnerability and its impacts. In participation domain, DEEP have successfully formed 20 children groups encompassing 12-15 children in the age group of 12-15 years.
Few of the achievements this year are as follows:
- Development of Teaching Learning Materials (TLM) based on the local culture and language like words, alphabets, songs, poetry etc. DEEP made sure that, the TLM is available in the 6 ICDS centres.
- Experimentation of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) assessment card in this 6 ICDS centers. After the process, they also shared the findings with the AWW to put extra focus to the children who needs more care.
- After identification, they started motivation process to their parents in one hand also engaging with the children on other hand. In this initiative, they have mobilized PRI members, local youth, parents and most importantly with the teachers. Bal Manch members played a key role for identification and motivating the children for schooling.
- PRAYAS model effort- in the review period, DEEP workers followed the PRAYAS model guideline and tried to use in contextual manner. They had formed small groups in the schools with the children. Before initiating the process, they had also taken up teacher’s community in loop in these 6 schools and shared the perspectives. Teacher was also got connected with these groups as house leader and VSS members as house coordinator. The children were categorised in Red zone who are absent since last 3 days, blue zone who are absent for more than 15 days, yellow for the children who are absent for whole months. The green zone children were regular throughout the month. Then, house leader, house captain and house coordinator started to work with the irregular/absent children in the school. The process is in very nascent stage and needs to be furthered.
- On child labour issue, DEEP put focus on children who are working in the villages as domestic workers and working in agricultural work. DEEP has also taken up the 14-18 years children who are migrated to other states and working as daily wage labourers.
- DEEP also produced the evidences of children who are migrating to other states and shared the vulnerability and hazards that the children face while they work outside the state.
- Children participated in capacity building programs, celebration of anti-child marriage campaign and most importantly the BAL MELA. BAL MELA initiative was a community driven program where children demonstrated their skills of expression and confidence.
Focus 1: To ensure in 24 villages, 100% children between the age 3- 6 are enrolled in ICDS.
- Continuing the engagement with the children in ICDS centre
- Scale up the joyful learning materials development in other 8 centres
- Sharing the experiences and trend of children assessment card with the CDPO.
- Capacity building of other 10 ICD service providers on the pre-school education.
Focus 2: To ensure in 24 villages, 100% children between the age 6-14 are retained in schools.
- Continue with the child tracking process
- Community mobilization process and empower them to send their children regularly in the school.
- Follow-up with Department of Education based on school status report for availability of separate toilet for girls, class-wise room, provision of safe drinking water, all weather rooms, boundary wall, seating arrangement, quality & regularity in mid-day-meal (MDM), timely distribution of textbooks, Scholarships, Trained teachers, etc.
Focus 3: To ensure milestones of the RtE Act is implemented.
- Community mobilization process to be supported with cultural performance by children and collective members (quarterly).
- Mobilize/initiate the discussions with govt school teachers on minimum level of learning & quality parameters
Focus 3: To ensure reduction in child labour and child marriage in 24 operational villages in intervention areas (6-14 years).
- Tracking the children between the age of 6-14 who are out of school and working in or out of the village.
- Mobilize communities/ families to negotiate for the end of child labour.
- Sustained engagement with the Ward level Child Protection Committee (CPC) and inputs.
- Community level sensitization sessions against the child marriage.
- Mobilize ICDS workers and health service providers and teachers to report on incidences of Child Marriage.
- Constant capacity building support to the child protection committee (CPC) and motivating them to take up the issue.
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