As India’s leading independent child rights organisation, Save the Children advocates and campaigns for change to realise children's rights and to ensure that their voices are heard. “Being the Voice of Children” is the underlying principle for all our child-centric advocacy initiatives that work to make a positive and sustainable change to the lives of millions of marginalised children across India. Our advocacy encompasses research and policy analysis, lobbying, communications and public campaigning. In different situations, our advocacy can be focused on securing formal policy changes, driving implementation of existing policies or creating an enabling environment for change.
With our meticulously planned advocacy initiatives, which are firmly grounded in the programmatic evidence, we make a strong case for pro-child policies and social changes. We advocate to influence the policies and actions of governments, parliamentarians, journalists, academicians, institutions, the private sector and the community at large, in order to achieve positive changes in children’s lives.
Following is a summary of some of our advocacy work:
We are in a constant dialogue with the community and the governments at state and national levels to effectively address issues of child labour, abuse, corporal punishment, trafficking, and to protect the rights of children in conflict with the law.
Some key highlights:
- We worked with the government in J&K to draft their Juvenile Justice Act of 2013.
- Some of the key states where we work with the Police departments include Punjab, Delhi, Bihar, J&K, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Assam.
- Child labour continues to rob children of their childhood and we take a multi-pronged approach to solve this problem. While we work with the rural and urban communities to sensitise families about the long term benefits of education, we work law makers to strengthen the Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act, 1986.
- Save the Children advocates for the effective prohibition of all forms of labour for children up to 14 years of age.
- Save the Children advocates with various stakeholders to address the issues of trafficking of children with comprehensive rehabilitation and education provisions made for children removed from the child labour.
In spite of the largest education system in the world, India still faces problems of low levels of literacy achievement and poor quality of education with 37 percent of the population lacking literacy skills; 53 percent of children dropping out at the elementary level and over 75 percent of rural schools being under staffed.
Save the Children advocates that all children must learn with their peers in safe schools and they should not be segregated based on ability, gender, race, or ethnicity. As part of our strategy, we focus on, building and strengthening ‘Inclusive Learner Friendly Environments’ catering to the age groups of 3-18 years, within diverse educational settings.
Save the Children is advocating that government at the State and national levels work together and develop the financial framework so that the promise of free and quality education to children between the ages of 6 and 14 can be implemented across India. We are an important member of the RTE Forum.
With two million children dying every year before they reach the age of five, Save the Children has launched its biggest global campaign ever, called EVERY ONE, with the aim of engaging literally EVERY ONE to tackle newborn and infant mortality. Our key advocacy aim of the campaign is to increase the Government’s public health expenditure to 3% of GDP by 2012, train Anganwadi workers on how to provide crucial pre and post-natal care and to develop convergence strategies between the key ministries which deal with health and nutrition so that reducing child mortality is a priority and government schemes and programmes are implemented in tandem.
When it comes to Emergencies like the floods in Uttarakhand (2013), J&K Floods (2014), Kosi Floods (2008), Cyclone Phalin (2014) or the Nepal Earthquake; Save the Children aren’t just on the scene within hours, we’re providing technical support to government and working with multiple aid agencies to co-ordinate aid as quickly and effectively as possible to save lives. Furthermore, post emergency we work to set up Child Friendly Spaces and restart ICDS centres so that children have access to food and nutrition and have places to play and learn which are clean and safe.