Under our “Child Rights Advocacy initiative”, a pet project of Kalinga Kusum Foundation with Hon’ble Members of Legislative Assembly of Odisha, and the able guidance of Shri Anubhav Patnaik, Hon’ble MLA, Khandapada, the pilot project of creating a Child Friendly Constituency was inaugurated at Khandapada on December 2015. The Child Friendly Constituency (CFC) is a unique initiative conceived out of our advocacy project. It aims to create a platform for the elected representatives to have a structured engagement with district administration and the various stakeholders; at the same time it also facilitates the communication with the community at large at regular intervals in issues that affect the lives of children and their well-being. The CFC model advocates optimum utilization of the existing resources allocated from State and Central Governments under various policy and programs.
The project has observed multi-stakeholder engagements across various levels of local self-government, involving a host of people representing a vast part of Odia community. Regular and active participation from the children, district administration, PRIs, service providers, international as well as local civil society organizations in capacity building and community mobilization has ensured long term sustainability of the initiative with positive signs of the project being taken over by the people of Khandapada and steer it with minimum outside intervention in near future. In a span of just one year, more than 40 trained Gram Panchayat Resource Persons (GPRPs) have mobilized about 4500 children as advocates of their rights, entitlements and duties. Gram Panchayat level, Block level and District level sensitization workshops have been organized to inform stakeholders (Panchayat members, parents, school teachers, anganwadi workers, ASHA workers, police personnel, district administration, et al.) on the child rights and their roles and responsibilities in securing and providing for those rights.
One of the major accomplishments of our humble project is the “Child Friendly Gram Sabha” taking place across the constituency of Khandapada. Young leaders from 25 of our Child Clubs were given the opportunity to put their views, opinions and needs in front of the Gram Sabha held in their respective areas. This flagship exercise of children participating in Gram Sabhas was started in 2016 at various Gram Panchayats across the Constituency and took this major step on 2nd October 2017. Every concern/issue that the child leaders highlighted were formally incorporated in the Gram Panchayat resolutions and assured of concrete action from the Panchayat members. Kalinga Kusum Foundation has been contributing towards this noble initiative through its Technical Support Unit. The team consisting of people coming from various academic backgrounds has actively involved itself in steering technical capacity building of the GPRPs and for collecting and dissemination of the learning from Khandapada to other elected representatives of the State.
Kalinga Kusum Foundation's mission is the socio-economic and legal empowerment of those living on the edges of society, with a special focus on children, women and tribal.