Mobilising support example:
Sustainability of child support centres
|Development Department, Reformed Presbyterian Church
SummaryThe Development Department of the Reformed Presbyterian Church North East India participated in a Change the Game Academy Mobilising Support course and embarked on a lobby campaign to ensure the sustainability of a number of child support centres in their target villages. Their most prominent approach is sensitising and empowering the community to carry on the work initiated by the project. The strategy is aimed at involving the beneficiaries themselves, young people from the villages, parents and caregivers, and the local authorities. A very strong point of this example is that the initiators are aware that lobby campaigns seldom result in immediate success. Their campaign is an ongoing process, moving forward slowly and gradually. But if you read on, you will see that the first successes have been achieved.
1. There is negligence and lack of supervision of children by the parents/caregivers, especially after school. This lack of supervision is mainly due to the low educational background of the parents/caregivers and the fact that they are engaging in their farmland work from dusk to dawn. This has a negative repercussion on the academic performance of their children; many drop out of school. There is no proper infrastructure or support system in the villages to care for these children.
2. No or poor enrolment of children in the Anganwadi centres (rural child care) and lack of government intervention in the proper functioning of the Anganwadi centers in the villages.
1. Engagement of children in studies after school by way of establishing a tuition centre in all the target villages run and managed by the community even after the project exit.
2. Re-enrolment of children and re-engagement of Anganwadi workers into the Anganwadi centres.
Which stakeholders (NGO’s, government, private sector) did you identify as allies and how did you involve them?
With regard to the proper functioning of the Anganwadi centres, we have identified the government department as an ally in this campaign. The government department is lobbied to closely monitor the functioning of the centres and designate officials to supervise the role of the Anganwadi workers.
Which stakeholders did you identify as neutral and how did you mobilise them?
The community leaders such as the Village Authority and the Youth group are considered and identified as neutral in the campaign to ensure sustainability of Academic Support Centres in the villages. These leaders are mobilised to identify youth to volunteer for tutoring younger children as big brothers and sisters. These leaders are also mobilised to initiate a support system and take responsibility for running and managing these centres even after the project phases out.
Which stakeholders did you identify as opponents and why were they opposed?
The Anganwadi workers are not very supportive to the campaign but neither outrageously opposing it. The Anganwadi workers or the caregivers have for a long while been laid off from their duty as there was no activity being conducted. Therefore, to re-activate the centres would mean that they now have to be engaged in the centre regularly which according to them is limiting their freedom to do other activities elsewhere.
How did you involve your beneficiaries in the stakeholder analysis/campaign?
We make the children aware of existing concerns about matters that affect their development in terms of education and other related issues. To initiate a more organised approach we have formed children's clubs in the target villages. These clubs are strengthened and facilitated to present their issues/concerns to the higher authority at the village level, like the Village Authority. They were facilitated and guided to send a petition to the village leaders to take measures, such as approaching government officials and initiating village-level actions in the best interest of the children, to ensure the continued running of the Academic Support Centre and proper functioning of the Anganwadi centres in the villages.
Short description of the organisation implementing the action/campaign
The Reformed Presbyterian Church North East India (RPCNEI) was started on the 8th of April 1979 in Manipur and is now spread across 5 states in North East India: Manipur, Assam, Mizoram, Tripura and Meghalaya.
Since its inception the Church began her outreach to society amongst the 18 tribes in North-eastern India, who are living in harsh conditions in the hills of Manipur, Mizoram, Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya. RPC has since then had a long track record of the following initiatives:
1. Child care programme through Children’s Home (residential in 2 locations, Churachandpur and Diphu) and community-based child focus programme: family knit programme, child centered community development programme.
2. Basic education programme for marginalised children in 22 schools (5 high schools and 17 primary schools).
3. Vocational training for skills development of youth who lack opportunities in their families and communities, and school drop-outs.
4. Micro-enterprises development- productive and commercial income generating activities.
5. Intensive agriculture training on “Sustainable Agricultural Land Technology” (integrated with environment, WATSAN-water&sanitation and a community health programme) with the upland farmers.
6. Relief & rehabilitation and livelihood programme (during ethnic clashes in N.C Hills & Cachar, bamboo famine in Tipaimukh, Manipur flood relief and fire outburst in Tripura in 2010/2011).
7. Food and nutrition security programme in Manipur, Assam and Mizoram.
8. Rural after school programme in Manipur.
9. Sustainable options for improving livelihood programme in Meghalaya and Manipur.
10. HIV/AIDS – Prevention, care and support among orphans and vulnerable children, injecting drug users; awareness creation of HIV/AIDS among the community, caregivers of HIV/AIDS patients (2006-2011).
Ongoing since 2019.
1. To run and manage 22 academic support centres under the supervision of the community.
2. To ensure proper functioning of the Anganwadi centres in 22 villages.
1. The organisation/project is successful in mobilising the community leaders to run and supervise 14 Academic Support Centres in the target villages.
2. The organisation/project has taken up initiatives to reactivate Anganwadi centres in 22 target villages by re-engaging of workers and re-enrolment of pre-school children. As a result 20 Anganwadi centres are now functioning with regular classes/activities.
The government has recognised one the Anganwadi centres as a model centre and it was inaugurated under the presence of district administrators: Deputy Commissioner, Sub-Divisional Officer and Superintendent of Police.
Description of preparatory activities
1. In order to ensure the continuity of the academic support centres in the village, the organisation/project has embarked on raising youth volunteers to tutor the children in the centre on a regular basis.
2. Mobilising and facilitating the community leaders to deliberate on ways and plausible measures to augment improved and better supervision and educational care for children, with the intention of gradually limiting the involvement of the project in the management of the centres.
3. Organising and sensitising community leaders to take measures to reactivate Anganwadi centres by way of re-engaging workers and re-enrolling of children.
4. Training of Anganwadi workers in conducting pre-school activities and child-friendly methods of teaching-learning.
Description of implementation
1. The organisation - with the involvement of the community leaders - has engaged around 14 youth volunteers.
2. Community leaders from 22 villages have been mobilised and facilitated to take up the responsibility of managing and supervising the academic support centers.
3. Community leaders from 22 villages have been sensitised and organised to take measures in reactivating Anganwadi centres.
4. Around 22 Anganwadi workers have been given training in collaboration with government officials from Integrated Child Development Service of Family & Child Welfare Department.
Description of time investment
This ongoing process requires staff involvement on a regular basis.
Approximately € 2000 to € 3000 per annum
This campaign is a slow and gradual process and is still ongoing. We are still organising a meeting and consultation with the community to come up with a definitive support system within the community so that the Academic Support Centres are continuing after project phase out.