Policy and Advocacy

As India’s leading independent child rights organization, we advocate for better policies and practices to fulfill children’s rights and to ensure that children’s voices are heard at the national, state and local levels across thematic areas – Education, Child Protection, Health & Nutrition, Humanitarian, Poverty & Inclusion, and Resilience. ‘Being the voice of children’ is the underlying principle for all our child-centric advocacy initiatives that are intended to make a positive and sustainable change in the lives of millions of marginalized children in India.

Advocacy is central to ensuring lasting change in children’s lives and is also integral to our theory of change. Our advocacy encompasses research and policy analysis, lobbying, communications, and campaigning in all the thematic area that we work within.

Take a look at the biggest advocacy wins of Save the Children, India over the last 10 years.

Our Policy-level Achievements include:

  • Education

    • In technical collaboration with Save the Children, the Department of School Education and the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT), Andhra Pradesh, developed India’s first Comprehensive School Safety Curriculum for Andhra Pradesh in the Telugu Language. This will be a part of the syllabus that will cater to over 1 crore children in Andhra Pradesh.
    • Save the Children, India drafted ‘Peace Education Manual’, which was launched in J&K by the Education Minister Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari.
    • Save the Children played the lead role in strengthening Right to Education (RTE) Forum, which was India’s largest civil society movement on the Right to Education Act.
  • Child protection

    • The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2013 along with a training module was drafted by Save the Children for police in Jammu and Kashmir.
    • Save the Children was recognized by the Ministry for Labour and Employment for its contribution to the Standard Operating Procedure for Enforcement of the Child and Adolescent (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, which was launched at a National Conference on Child Labour organized by Ministry of Labour and Employment on 26th September 2017; it recognizes Save the Children, India as one of the 3 NGOs that have contributed to this SOP and drafting of the rules after the amendment of the Act. Save the Children was nominated by Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoL&E) to be a part of the Central Advisory Board (CAB) on Child and Adolescent Labour, where we were able to present technical input and evidence-based advocacy requests on child labour.
    • National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights adopted the e-learning module on Child Sexual Abuse & POCSO Act, 2012, which was developed as part of our programme intervention in Haryana & Punjab to create awareness on child safety.
    • Save the Children developed the Standard Operating Procedure for children in street situations with the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
      • Seven states have adopted and launched the Standard Operating Procedure for prevention, rescue, and restoration of children in street situations, which include Delhi, West Bengal, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Bihar.
      • Institutionalization of children in street situations (CiSS) interventions through the formation of CiSS Steering Groups in Mumbai, Kolkata & Delhi.
    • To counter the various reasons for poverty in India and its consequences, Save the Children’s research mapped policies for children on the street, a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), a first of its kind policy document that elaborates the process of care, protection, and restoration of children in street situations, was developed with Government body National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). The SOP was launched on 21st February 2017 by Smt. Maneka Gandhi – Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD), Stuti KackerChairperson NCPCR, and Dia Mirza – Artist Ambassador. A key component of the SOP is to provide every child with a legal identification document like the Aadhaar Card and to make the area postman and the post office a nodal link at a local level for street children. The SOP was launched in 7 states.
  • Health & Nutrition

    • To counter hunger and malnutrition in India, Save the Children influenced policy change on the management of sepsis in young infants at the national level by generating evidence at the field level.
      • Based on Save the Children’s programme learning on the management of sepsis in young infants in Saharsa, Bihar, we received a formal endorsement from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Government of India for a review of the policy on the management of sepsis in young infants along with the facilitator guidebook, training video for primary health care providers, and an addendum on the existing operational guidelines for implementation in all states.
      • SNL in partnership with the Care and Government of Bihar implemented a model on Community based management of newborn infections and created evidence on what it takes to translate government policies into action. An addendum facilitator guide and training video package was also developed in this regard, which is uploaded on the official website of the government
    • Save the Children supported the implementation of Pune City Health Plan, which was developed and facilitated in partnership with Pune Municipal Corporation and Ministry of Urban Development, Maharashtra. Pune’s City Health Plan received significant recognition from the City Corporation, the National Health Mission (NHM), and the Government of Maharashtra resulting in some components incorporated in the District Programme Implementation Plan (PIP) of National Health Mission (NHM). Save the Children also received a letter of endorsement from Additional Mission Director, National Health Mission, Odisha for inclusion in the city health plan of Bhubaneswar.
    • Save the Children facilitated the formation of State Newborn Strategy and conducted District Gap Analysis of health infrastructure and facility for newborns. The gap analysis was presented to the Odisha and Jharkhand government. Thereafter, a planning exercise was held in two districts of Jharkhand and one district of Odisha. The newborn action plan was developed at the district level and was further included in the project execution stage.
    • Under the Stop Diarrhoea Initiative, Save the Children was honoured for its contribution in making Uttarakhand the 4th state of India to be Open Defecation Free (ODF) (after Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala) at an event in Dehradun. The appreciation award was presented by Honourable Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation Narendra Singh Tomar and Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Trivendra Singh Rawat.
      • Evidence on treating diarrhoea was also uploaded on the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation Swachh Sangrah portal.
    • Increase in the budget allocation for Supplementary Nutrition Programme (SNP) was based on the recommendations of Save the Children’s Child Budget Analysis 2017-18, which recommended the revision in cost norms of the programme for children, pregnant women, lactating mothers, and malnourished children under Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and pre-school education kit with an additional feature of Teaching and Learning Material (TLM) along with it. The recommendations were made during the pre-budget consultation that was held at the Ministry of Finance, Government of India in December 2017.
    • Considering the recommendations, the Ministry of Women and Child Development revised the cost norms for Supplementary Nutrition Programme (SNP) and Pre-school education kit as per the Minutes of Empowered Programme Committee and Administrative Approval of revised Annual Programme Implementation Plan (2017-18) for Anganwadi Services Scheme under ICDS dated 8/12/1.
  • Other achievements

    • Save the Children signed an MoU with National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoH&UA) to work in partnership with different agencies, including Municipal Authorities, in 10 cities towards improving the Urban Health Systems.
    • An MOU was signed between Indian Council of Medical Research and Save the Children in an effort to expand our horizons in the domain of Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Programme implementation and research; Save the Children has formalised a landmark agreement with ICMR.
    • Global campaign launch of Every Last Child on 26th April 2016 captured the attention of the government, where Venkaiah Naidu – Minister of Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs, Stuti Kacker – Chairperson, NCPCR, Swaroop Rawal – Actor & Educationist, Helle Thorning-Schmidt – Save the Children International CEO, and Harpal Singh – Save the Children India Chairperson, along with the civil society and UN representatives with over 150 children from the slums of Delhi pledged to stand up for the rights of these children.

Government bodies where Save the Children is considered a technical partner of choice includes:

  • Ministry of Women and Child Development

  • National Commission for Protection of Child Rights

  • Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

  • Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs

  • NITI Aayog

Policy wins for Save the Children April 2019 – March 2020

In 2019-2021, Save the Children’s policy and advocacy efforts will aim to influence and strengthen the policy environment around our strategic priorities.

In order to achieve our aim, our efforts will involve securing and leveraging the right partnerships to influence key policy changes for children.

  • Ministry of Women and Child Development

    • Save the Children was able to secure public commitment on strengthening child protection systems and working with children’s groups which will support our efforts for Ending Violence Against Children from the newly appointed Minister of Women and Child Development – Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani at our national-level centenary celebration The Right Start Summit.
    • Save the Children submitted a non-paper on the Juvenile Justice Act as requested by MWCD and two components discussed at the Group of Ministers (GoM) meeting on 21st February 2020.
      • The GoM discussed both the issues raised in the Juvenile Justice Act by Save the Children in the non-paper.
        • One of the key challenges in effective implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 has been multiplicity and ambiguity amongst the monitoring authorities and that designating the DM as the ‘Administrator’ will enable her/him to review the aspects related to effective implementation of the JJ Act and Child Protection services
        • There is also need for the Juvenile Justice Act to clearly highlight that offences in which juveniles are involved, which do not provide a minimum sentence of 7 years, cannot be treated as ‘heinous offences.
        • Click here to read the article published in Times of India
  • National Commission of Protection for Child Rights (NCPCR

    • Continuing our work for the Children in Street Situations, Save the Children along with NCPCR has organized the first stock-taking on the execution progress made by the Standard Operating Procedure.
    • Save the Children has been commissioned to work on version 2.0 of the SOP which is in its final stages and will be shared with the core group for their comments and suggestions. NCPCR has commissioned SC India to develop version 2.0 of the SOP on CiSS, incorporating key learnings from implementation and programming.
    • Taking note of the plight of street children during the coronavirus lockdown, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) stated that the lockdown period could be used to create a database of the children for them to be linked to various government social schemes and be prevented from coming out on the streets again.
      Read more
  • Ministry of Human Resource and Development

    • Save the Children has been advocating the importance of Early Childhood Care and Education and extension of the Right to Education (RtE) Act to include 3-6 years with different stakeholders and at various levels. The draft of National Education Policy (NEP) 2019, released by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), includes a chapter on the importance of Early Childhood Care and Education and it has also recommended an extension of the Right to Education (RTE) Act to include 3-6 years old. The policy has not been finalized or released by the government as yet.
    • Save the Children organized several consultations at the state and national level with education-focused networks and coalitions to consolidate key recommendations and advocate for ECCE as a priority in the National Education Policy (NEP) draft.
    • We were able to provide specific recommendations on the National Education Policy (NEP)draft based on our programming evidence on ECCE as per the workshop organized by MHRD. As a member of the Education Sub-Group of NITI Aayog, Save the Children submitted recommendations on the National Education Policy (NEP) draft.
  • Ministry of Human and Family Welfare

    • Save the Children was a key technical partner for the launch of the National Guidelines for Pneumonia Control and Management as well as the SAANS campaign by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
      • Save the Children advocated two government mechanisms which were also included in the guidelines:
        • Amoxicillin, the first-line antibiotic for pneumonia cases, is given in the hands of frontline workers ASHA and ANMs.
        • Introduction of pulse-oximeter as part of the treatment protocols at health and wellness centres.
    • Save the Children has been nominated as the Secretariat for Pneumonia and Diarrohea by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. The key role of the Secretariat will be to serve as a platform for expediting review of information, tools, guidelines, sub-national/national/international best practices, and provide feedback for the betterment of Pneumonia and Diarrhea Programme in the country. These Secretariat meetings would be chaired by the MoHFW.
    • Findings from the Childhood Pneumonia study conducted by Save the Children highlighted seven questions in the Parliament subsequent to the dissemination of the study done in five states.
  • Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs

    • Save the Children provided recommendations on Urban Policy Framework released by MoH&UA.
    • MoH&UA’s commitment to focus on street children in smart city initiatives, during Urban Roundtable organized with NIUA & MoH&UA, with the presentation of a joint paper. A charter of demands has been prepared and the same will be shared with the Minister, MoH&UA.

      On August 26th, a round table on Prioritizing Children in Urban context was held at New Delhi. The roundtable was jointly organised by National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), Save the Children, UNICEF and BvLF (with support from Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs –MoHUA) and technical support from Indian Institute of Human Settlements (IIHS) for key stakeholders. Experts from Built Environment-Architecture and Social and Public Policy participated in the discussion.
  • Ministry of Finance

    • Recommendations on increasing investments for children across thematic areas submitted for the Finance Minister’s Pre-Budget Meeting on Social Sector- Health, Education and Rural Development consultation on Dec 23rd, 2019.
    • A future for children of today can be made more robust only when there is access to education for all classes and communities, who are well-nourished and healthy and face no violence. Without universal health coverage, India’s future will continue to be affected by rising inequalities. Considering that children constitute nearly 40% of India’s population we need to invest adequately and rightly for children. This is crucial not only for India but also for the whole world as the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 is overwhelmingly dependent on India’s progress on the key parameters.
    • To keep the promises we made to our children, there is a need to prioritize children in our plans and budgets. Right investments, particularly in the early years, has immense potential to change the lives of children from the marginalized section and groups of society
    • Read more on the union budget analysis of 2020-21.
  • National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development

    • Collaborated with NIPCCD for National & State Dissemination on Competency-based Training for ICPS Functionaries.
    • A pilot programme, ‘Competency-Based Training of Child Protection Workforce’ was launched in the year 2014 through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the State Governments of West Bengal and Jharkhand. The main objective of the programme was to build the capacity of five
    • key positions within the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) through a competency-based training approach. The training of all the five functionaries of DCPU has been completed in both the states.
    • Save the Children in collaboration with the National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD) organized a National Dissemination and Experience Sharing Consultation on Competency-based Training for ICPS Functionaries on 27th September 2019. The purpose of the consultation was to share the approach adopted for the competency-based training and the learnings and experiences gained.
    • As a way forward, Save the Children has submitted all competency-based curriculum modules to NIPCCD who will constitute a core committee to vet the modules.
  • NITI Aayog

    • Save signed a Statement of Intent (SoI) with government institution NITI Aayog (policy think tank aimed at achieving the SDGs), to provide technical assistance on ECCD in 5 aspirational districts of India.
    • Save the Children is a member of the NITI-CSO Working (Standing) Committee on 3 thematic sub-groups, which are Health, Nutrition & Sanitation, Access to Justice and Education.
    • As part of the sub-group on Education, Save the Children was commissioned to share an Action Plan on strengthening Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) based on SC India’s programming along with Prayas.
    • 4 key innovative practices (under WASH, SDI) were implemented in aspirational districts which have been selected by NITI Aayog to be documented under publication ‘Stories of Change from India’s Districts: Use of Behavioural Insights’.

Save the Children also works to strengthen the focus on child rights within Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

  • Save the Children co-leading children’s vertical for 2nd Voluntary National Review (VNR) process on child-centred SDGs (for HLPF 2020), initiated by NITI Aayog

    India will present its second Voluntary National Review (VNR) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the UN High Level Political Forum(HLPF) 2020. NITI Aayog is coordinating the preparation of the VNR 2020. In order to ensure that the VNR 2020 adequately integrates CSOs’ perspectives, data and inputs, a series of national consultations with CSOs working with various vulnerable groups are being planned, under the aegis of NITI Aayog, in collaboration with United Nations India, Wada Na Todo Abhiyan (WNTA), and partner CSOs.

    Save the Children, in collaboration with Joining Forces for Children partners, Nine is Mine, CRY, and National Coalition for Education organised the National VNR Consultation on Children on Jan 16, 2020. The National Consultation was organized by child-focused agencies to review the progress of SDGs directly related to the rights of children and to suggest how children can be prioritized under the Leave No One Behind initiative.

    The report of the consultation will be part of the 2nd Voluntary National Review (VNR) chapter ‘Leave No One Behind’ for HLPF 2020.

  • Save the Children develops India Child Development Index

    To counter the effects of poverty on child development and to ensure national focus on child-focused SDG goals and to strengthen accountabilities, Save the Children India has developed the India Child Development Index (ICDI) and has ranked all states, Union Territories, and districts of India on that index. The India Child Development Index (ICDI) provides a summary measure of children’s progress on multiple dimensions of the rights of the child, including health, nu trition, education, and protection, using existing national-level data sources owned by the government.

    It focuses on (a) assessing progress of States and UTs on ICDI between 2000 and 2015; (b) providing the status of performance of all the districts in India on ICDI for the year 2015. The ICDI findings will be critical to identify and focus on geographies, which need greater attention to ensure the rights of all vulnerable children are met.