Our Initiations for Child Friendly Nepal

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The UN Convention on the Right of the Child (UNCRC) -1989 has enshrined fundamental rights of children and has also included the provisions to make state accountable to ensure rights of children. Nepal is a state party to it and ratified the Convention on September 1990, just after a year of its enforcement and adoption. This shows Nepal's utmost commitment towards ensuring rights of children. Afterwards, Nepal enforced Child Rights Act- 2048 which domesticated some provisions of UNCRC.

Ensuring rights of children in documents and conventions is one aspect; it makes policy level commitments however, the real challenge comes in implementation aspect. Ensuring rights of children in conventions and initiating child rights initiations in a decorative aspect are not enough. We need to be aware whether our initiations, in real essence, are useful and appropriate for children or not. And there comes the value of child friendly. As for example, taps are built but they are beyond the reach of children; in this circumstance how can children exercise their rights to drink water?

We cannot define the phrase "Child Friendly" in a one dimension. It encompasses multiple dimensions and is comprehensive. The first thing is attitudes and sensitization about child friendly issues, second is related with child friendly behaviors, and third is concerned with child friendly planning and infrastructures as well as publications. A tripartite bond can only help to create a child friendly environment. It starts from an individual, families, communities, state/country and the world as a whole.

Government of Nepal (GoN) has initiated some of its interventions to create child friendly environment in the country. Develop and implement of the 10 year child development plan (2004-014), declaring  the National Child Policy (2012), Establishment of Center Child Welfare Board (CCWB) and District Child Welfare Boards (DCWBs) in 75 districts of Nepal is one of the key initiatives taken by GoN which carries out massive programs to aware and sensitize children and community on child rights, protect children from abuses and violations and legal support. Another key initiative is Child Friendly Local Governance (CFLG) which is in piloting phase. Its objective is to ensure children's participation and make children's voices heard during planning process of development programs and governance issues in local level. In addition, it is also involved in policy level works for child friendly issue.

In addition, we cannot deny initiatives taken by civil society in ensuring child friendly environment. We can take the initiatives taken by Child Nepal (CN), one of the national level NGO working in child rights, as a reference. CN believes that until and unless children understand their rights there is no worth of child friendly. If they are aware about their rights then only they can claim for their rights and child friendly environment. Thus, CN published a booklet and poster which a child friendly Nepali translation on UNCRC. This helps children first to understand their rights. Secondly, it is compactly working with child clubs that actively involves raising awareness on child friendly environment in community through rural dramas, competitions, community gatherings and sharing. Child Club in Duwachaur VDC of Sindhupalchok, facilitated by CN, was successful in demanding and exercising 10% VDC budget allocated for children. Also, one of the members of Haat ma Haat Child Club initiated by children represented Nepal in the conferences organized in Sri Lanka and Thailand. In addition, CN has done school based interventions targeting teachers, members of School Management Committees (SMCs) and Parent Teachers Associations (PTA). It has focused on child friendly teaching learning, environment setting and child friendly school through school programs.

In national level, CN advocates for child friendly environment through different networks and coalitions. It coordinates to prepare and submit the shadow report of CRC and Optional Protocols to UN Committee on the Rights of the Child aspiring for a country that is child friendly with ensured child rights. In addition, it carries out peace initiatives for children with an objective to end conflict in the country and create a peaceful and friendly environment for children to entertain their rights. For it, CN has initiated 'Longest Painting in the World on Peace and Child Rights by children' campaign. In addition, children and peace initiatives are carried out through National Coalition for Children as Zone of Peace and Child Protection (CZOPP).

Only these initiatives are not enough. We have to lobby with GoN to make them more accountable towards making Nepal a child friendly country. For this, it is prominent to ensure meaningful participation of children in decision making from families to state bodies. This helps to keep their needs and voices in state mechanisms and ultimately helps to built a child friendly country which can be a model for the global community.


Jointly written by:

Krishna Subedi, Chairperson, CN

Mohan Dangal, Child Rights Program Coordinator, CN

Position: director

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