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Mountain Children’s Foundation was formed by Aditi P Kaur in 2003, to bring changes in lives of the communities living in mountain state of Uttarakhand. Since inception, the organization’s endeavour is to create a space and environment for sustainable development of communities in partnership with local organizations. MCF is creating a state-wide network of children that can harness the power of collective action to make their voices heard and their concerns noted. It has evolved a model based on cooperation and collaboration among development organizations, building a network of 35 partners across the state, reaching more than 12,000 children in rural villages around Uttarakhand. The challenges being faced by children in mountain communities are not confined to a single issue, so MCF has to work on a spectrum of issues violating child rights, hygiene and sanitation conditions, health, education, environment, governance and disaster preparedness. The MCF’s disaster mitigation and management campaign in 2005 carved out a realm for children in this area. Currently the organization is operating in 16 villages of Vikas Nagar Block in Dehradun district.
The 16 villages in the CRY supported project area include 1,239 households with a total population of 7,319. Of these, 53.3% are male and 46.7% are female. There is high percentage of schedule caste population which has always been underserved in Uttarakhand. A large percent of the population (over 35%) are BPL families. Over 82% of the children do not have birth registration certificates which shows that the right of the child to an identity is not being given. The quality of education is suspect at the basic school level as the number of rooms and teachers are low. There is no Public Health Center in these 16 villages. About 70% of children between 1-5 years age are not enrolled in ICDS centres. Only 200 children go to the anganwadi (pre-primary) centers. In the operational area, 12 villages have anganwadi centers, but the number is not enough to cater to the population in the area. Children in most of the cases stop education after primary schools as there are no high schools in the project area.
- To make children and communities aware about child rights.
- To sensitize parents of children on the need of providing space to children to express their thoughts.
- To enable children to use different tools for ensuring their rights thereby preparing them for becoming change agents in future.
- To ensure community participation in ensuring rights of children.
- The baseline survey was conducted through door-to-door interviews in 1,249 households for identifying the status of child rights in the project area and planning future interventions.
- The survey process helped MCF team to build rapport with the community. After the sharing of Baseline data with the administration, there has been an increase in the support received by the team from ICDS workers and the ANMs.
- Children groups (Bal Panchayats) formed in 16 villages with participation of 414 children. The groups include children in the age group of 6-17 years.
- Children’s understanding on the need and strength of a collective has been built up. Through various activities, the confidence level of children has increased. Parent’s involvement in children activities has strengthened the essence of intervention.
- A manual, based on concepts and learning developed through intervening during the year was prepared.
- 1000 posters on child participation was printed and also distributed in Bal Panchayats. Children were also being oriented on the content of the posters.
- The capacity building program with project staff for identifying cases of child rights violations and making a plan to address those violations.
- Workshop for children from 16 villages on child rights with focus on birth registration, personal and community hygiene.
- Regular focused group discussions with parents of children as well as other community members on rights of children and roles of different stakeholder in ensuring rights of children.
- Strengthening of Bal Sangathans (children’s groups).
- Healthy home survey to be carried out by children in their homes in 16 villages.
- Preparation of plans by children to address the issue of birth registration and hygiene for 16 villages.
- Awareness generation on birth registration, immunization and hygiene through pamphlets, leaflets and preparation of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials by children.
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