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Title: Child Participation for the Elimination of Child Labour A Case Study of Bal Panchyat
Authors: Kumar, Amit
Keywords: School of Social Sciences
Mohua Nigudkar
Issue Date: 2008
Abstract: During the past decade, in the light of the 1989 UN convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), many organizations working with children have been re-assessing the way they fulfill their mission. Responding to the UNCRC, mandated rights of children to 'participation' has proved a special challenge, for it requires a re-orientation of approaches. Instead of reconfirming children to the role of beneficiaries, the UNCRC states that children should be given the opportunity to become contributors in activities undertaken on their behalf. This study would endeavour to find out whether and how the bal panchayat has empowered children in the participating communities along with the other stakeholders as a whole. This research seeks to take a close look at the resources and facilities available along with the expectation of the residents of specific location in some districts in Bihar. The research methodology that one found apt for the research was the qualitative method of research study as this study is exploratory in nature. Further, the study seeks to describe the different processes of the bal panchayat that led to the elimination of child labour and enrollment of children in schools. Through the analysis and discussion one gained an insight into the perception of children, parents, and other stakeholders, about their own experiences, regarding the several components that comprise the bal panchayat. The researcher highlights the specific impact of the life experiences of these children and their interface with the Bal Mitra Gram (BMG) on their thought, attitude and behavior. III The following is an overview of some of the findings- All 7 BMGs studied are now almost child labour free ❖ School enrolment and attendance increased for girls, boys, working children, children with disabilities etc + Parents and community members developing respect for children's views and children's right, thereby increasing the status of children and their voices. ❖ Increased self—esteem, confidence and resilience among children ❖ Enthusiasm to address issues for the benefit of their peers and community ❖ Increased communication, negotiation and team work skills • Empowerment of girls and boys through knowledge of their rights and recognition of the value of their participation :• Reduction in discrimination against girls, children of lower caste, working children etc • Monitoring of teacher attendance and the quality of teaching as well as taking action with concerned education authorities when necessary • :• Children protect themselves and their peers from child abuse and prevent child marriage and trafficking The research study as mentioned above found that the experience of child participation had a widely positive effect on the children concerned. The impact on families, communities, the motivation of organization staff, and on project outcomes has been unreservedly beneficial No one would suggest that undertaking child participation effectively is simple but with appropriate care and participation it has proved possible to engage even normally inaccessible group of children-child workers, agriculture labourers and girl children-and achieve transformational outcomes for all concerned.
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