Engagement with Government

As India celebrates ‘Azaadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ and enters into ‘Amritkaal’, we deeply appreciate the consistent and successful efforts of the Government of India, to uphold the rights of the children of our country.Save the Children, also known as Bal Raksha Bharat, engages with the government at different levels. We strive to develop and strengthen policy and programme-based solutions to create sustainable change in the lives of marginalized and vulnerable children. We achieve this by working closely and engaging in meaningful dialogue and action with the government at national, state and local levels across the thematic areas of Education, Child Protection, Health & Nutrition, Humanitarian Response, Poverty & Inclusion, and Resilience.

Engagement with the government is integral to our approach and ‘Theory of Change’ elements of “Being the Voice”; “Building Partnership”; “Being the Innovator” and “Achieving Results at Scale”. We strive to be a partner of choice for the Government and other stakeholders on issues affecting the most deprived children and their holistic development. We drive strong evidence-based and child-led engagement with government to support and complement key policies and programmes related to children.

Engagement with the Government: Key Ministries and Institutions

Save the Children has a positive, collaborative and well-sustained relationship with the Government of India.

The following are key ministries and institutions we work with at all levels, from national to state to district and even block.

  • Education

    • Ministry of Education / State Education Department / District
    • National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) / State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT)
  • Health & Nutrition

    • Ministry of Health & Family Welfare / State Department / District
    • Ministry of Women & Child Development – ICDS / State /District
  • Child Protection

    • Ministry of Women & Child Development / State / District
    • Ministry of Labour & Employment / State / District
    • National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) / State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR)
    • National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD)
  • Poverty & Inclusion

    • Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship
    • Ministry of Environment Climate & Forest Change
    • National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA)
    • National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC)
  • Cross-Cutting

    • Ministry of Finance
    • NITI Aayog
    • National Institution of Disaster Management (NIDM)

Additionally, we engage at the State-level with Chief Ministers/ Chief Secretaries and other key officials as well as with functionaries at the Block level.

Engagement with the Government: Types of Engagement

Save the Children at the National-level and our 15 State Offices (12 states and 3 Union Territories) are actively engage with government agencies to support and promote the children’s agenda. Our engagement with National, State and District Government entities broadly covers technical support, capacitybuilding or training of government staff, developing IEC material, conducting awareness campaigns or drives, undertaking research studies and several other initiatives.

Our engagement with the government encompasses below principles:

  • Engaging in a meaningful dialogue with the government to explore ways to support children within the existing policy and programme context for children;
  • Establishing a working relationship with the government, for example, in the form of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) or Statement of Intent (SoI)
  • Providing technical support on any child-related policy or programmes of the government based on programme implementation on ground, replicable and innovative programme solutions and evidence-based research
  • Being appointed members of various committees, advisory boards and technical groups constituted by the government

Engagement  with Government: Some key highlights

Education:
To ensure children have access to safe and quality learning, we work with the government to support the implementation of the National Education Policy 2020 (Early Childhood Care and Education, Foundational Literacy and Numeracy), strengthen Samagra Shiksha (improving learning levels) and ensure safe school environment for children.

  • Evidence-based policy recommendations submitted to the Ministry of Education in 2019 for inclusion and importance of Early Childhood Care and Education included within the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.
  • Supporting implementation of Foundational Literacy & Numeracy (FLN) of National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 across 4 states (Bihar, Delhi, Jharkhand and Rajasthan)
  • Developed India’s first Comprehensive School Safety Curriculum for Andhra Pradesh in technical collaboration with the Department of School Education and the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT), Andhra Pradesh. This curriculum has been integrated at three levels – in textbooks from Class III to X, as part of teacher professional courses (B.Ed and D.Ed) and in teacher training. It has been made available for students from the academic year of 2018 – 2019 in Telugu and English medium textbooks. The same has been developed in partnership with Government of Tamil Nadu.
  • Partnership established with National Institution of Disaster Management (NIDM) in 2021 under the Ministry of Home Affairs to institutionalize training on Education in Emergency (EiE) and develop state specific EiE roadmap.

Health & Nutrition:
To strengthen the nutritional and health status of children, adolescents and women, preventing childhood diseases and improving WASH practices, we work to support the implementation of Mission Saksham Anganwadi and POSHAN 2.0 of the Ministry of Women & Child Development and NITI Aayog, RMNCH+A initiative of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Swacch Bharat Mission.

  • Statement of Intent (SOI) signed with NITI Aayog for a multi-state 2-year partnership in two phases (April 2019 – March 2021 and April 2021- March 2023) to improve health and nutritional indicators in three Aspirational Districts of Jharkhand and Bihar (Gumla, West Singhbhum & Gaya). Recognising our work on the ground, the SoI has been further extended up till March 2023. In partnership with the local administration, we have piloted a cost-effective replicable innovative model for Community Management of Severe Acute Malnutrition in three aspirational districts which has shown significant grade improvement in the wasting status of undernourished children.
  • Supporting Ministry of Health & Family Welfare for childhood pneumonia management and SAANS campaign: We provided technical support for the SAANS campaign of Government of India at national and state level in 2019 and 2020. We also submitted two recommendations within pneumonia guidelines which included (a) Amoxicillin as the first line antibiotic for pneumonia cases is given in the hands of frontline workers, ASHAs and ANMs and (b) Introduction of pulse-oximeter as part of the treatment protocols at health and wellness centres. We have also showcased innovative models such as the Pneumonia Skill Laboratory, which is a joint effort with Government of Rajasthan.
  • Provided technical inputs into the policy on management of sepsis in young infants: In 2018, based on our programme learning on management of sepsis in young infants in Saharsa, Bihar, we received a formal endorsement from the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare to review the policy on management of sepsis in young infants. This led to development of an (a) Addendum on the existing operational guidelines; (b) Facilitator guidebook and (c) Training video for healthcare providers. Former Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan acknowledged contribution of professional organisations, academic institutes and development partners where Save the Children was named as one of the seven development partners.
  • We have showcased pilot models such as Community managed toilet in Okhla, Delhi in collaboration with Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) which display our programme work and good practices to supplement effective implementation of government programmes.

Child Protection:
To ensure children are protected from physical and virtual abuse and exploitation and from being forced into labour, trafficking and marriage, we work with the government to support the implementation of Mission Vatsalya, strengthening child protection workforce, strengthening programmes for Children in Street Situations and supporting PENCIL portal of Ministry for Labour and Employment.

  • Presented a non-paper suggesting some recommendations for strengthening the Juvenile Justice Act. Save the Children presented a non- paper to Ministry of Women and Child Development for strengthening the Juvenile Justice Act 2021. The recommendations included shifting of implementation power to the District Magistrate and ambiguity be removed in sentences where the minimum sentence was not defined.
  • Nominated member of Steering Committee for UNCRC reporting process and shared details of our work for the 5th & 6th UNCRC Country report (2020)
  • Recognized by Ministry for Labour and Employment in 2017 for our contribution to the Standard Operating Procedure for Enforcement of the Child and Adolescent (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986. We were also nominated for Central Advisory Board (CAB) on child labour set up under the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act where we presented evidence-based policy recommendations on child labour in 2018.
  • Collaborated with National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to develop Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) for the Care and Protection of Children in Street Situations (2016-17), The SoP 2.0 for Care and Protection of CISS (2020) was developed and Supreme Court mandated States to implement SoP on CiSS. Additionally, we have partnered with UIDAI for organizing Aadhaar camps for children in street situations (in 10 cities, 2018-2020). Currently, we are providing technical inputs to UP and Jharkhand on drafting State Policy for Children in Street Situations.
  • Mental health and psychosocial support helpline UMMEED developed in collaboration and partnership with Rajasthan State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (RSCPCR) in 2020-21 to respond to the well-being needs of children during COVID-19.
  • Collaborated with National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD) for National and State Dissemination on Competency-based Training for ICPS Functionaries. A pilot programme, ‘Competency-Based Training of Child Protection Workforce’ was launched in 2014 through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with West Bengal and Jharkhand.

Poverty & Inclusion:
To strengthen economic and social capabilities of adolescents and enhance climate resilience among children and families, we work with the government to strengthen the eligibility criteria for marginalized under skill sector program at National and State Skill Development Mission, ensure child centric disaster & climate risk adaptive planning processes are incorporated and strengthen Child Sensitive Social Protection Schemes.

  • Sharing of good practices in the social protection schemes and programmes to make them child sensitive in Palanhaar scheme of Government of Rajasthan where parenting has been included.
  • Mou with Jharkhand State Livelihood Promotion Society to ensure safe return of migrant families and children during COVID-19.
  • Engaged with Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in 2022 where we shared our reports on Climate Change and Children in India and the same were appreciated.
  • Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs committed to focus on children in street situations as part of smart city initiatives, during Urban Roundtable organized with National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), with presentation of a joint paper and a charter of asks prepared.
  • Signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) for collaboration with Climate Centre for Cities (C-Cube) within National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) in 2020.

Cross-cutting areas:
Save the Children also works on cross-cutting areas to support the government

  • Launched a pan-India COVID-19 response (1st and 2nd wave) across 19 States and 121 Districts including 24 Aspirational Districts where we supported the work of the government in providing Food Kits, Health & Medical Interventions (2 million COVID-19 doses administered) and major medical equipment and supplies.
  • Member of NITI Aayog’s subgroup on Education, Child rights and Child protection and also a core member of NITI Aayog’s committee on Integrated development for 3-6 years wherein we provide technical inputs in various child rights based areas.
  • Co-led the children’s vertical for 2nd Voluntary National Review (VNR) process on child-centered SDGs (for HLPF 2020), initiated by NITI Aayog.
  • Engaging with Ministry of Finance on an annual basis to submit evidence-based budgetary recommendations for children for Union Budget.