Child participation is recognized as a basic and critical right under the United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child. In this regard, KFA made a journey in partnership with UNICEF in the area of child participation in the state of Orissa particularly in Koraput District. The journey was started since the year 2012-13 in a new revolutionary innovative strategy the “Child Reporter Initiatives”. Through the ‘Child Reporters’ intervention, school-going children have been provided an opportunity to formulate and express their views regarding critical issues affecting them and their communities.
The intervention which started on a pilot scale in ten schools has been scaled up to 618 schools across the district. These efforts have contributed in creating a perceptible difference in the approach and outlook of children. A large number of these children are first generation learners and the intervention has contributed in making them better equipped to face the world. Child participation has been variedly defined by many scholars but KFA adopted the process while pioneering the programme was the most comprehensive formulation has been laid down under the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). UNCRC was the first instrument to set down the entire range of children’s rights including the right to survival and development, protection and participation. The right to participation aims to ensure that children are provided the opportunity and freedom to think, express and participate in the process of development. The Government of India ratified the UNCRC in 1992.
As per the following tabular form KFA carried forward the whole activities in the process of implementing the programme in the Koraput District.
In regards to benefit of child participation in developmental process of the society KFA has done various activities at different levels like
- At child level: facilitated and created greater awareness and understanding of environment among the children and increased confidence and ability to relate with others
- At family level: facilitated, ensured and improved parent-child relationship & increased involvement of children in household decision-making process
- At community level: facilitated & increased community participation in local development as well as increased sensitivity towards children’s issues
- At institution level: last but the least KFA created greater sensitivity of functionaries to needs and issues of children and facilitated to increased attention on issues affecting children