Prevention of Child Labour and Child Trafficking for Forced Labour to Access Education

Prevention of Child Labour and Child Trafficking for Forced Labour to Access Education

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Prevention of child labor through education and advocacy at grassroots level coupled with macro-level policy interventions.

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Plot your innovation within the mosaic of solutions
Which of these barriers is the primary focus of your work?

Which of the principles is the primary focus of your work?

If you believe some other barrier or principle should be included in the mosaic, please describe it and how it would affect the positioning of your initiative in the mosaic:

• Naxalite insurgency in the area which makes it a dangerous area to work in
• Lack of Political will: The bureaucracy and the administrative machinery take a long time to implement things.
• Lack of infrastructure facilities for the people, so the work has to start from scratch.

It is in this environment that the team is working to eliminate child labour in the mica mining region using the following principle.


The principle on which the innovation works is a holistic approach to address the twin problems of child labour and illiteracy and works as follows:

• Prevention – through access to education, creating awareness, community mobilization.
• Protection – through adoption and enforcement of child rights sensitive laws and policies, victim - responsive child sensitive programmes, rescue operations and prosecution of offenders.
• Provisions through victim – sensitive care and assistance, facilities to ensure safe return, social recovery and reintegration- including economic-social empowerment.
• Participation through community, child participation in activities to protect child rights, involving key actors like govt., employees, employers, etc.

Describe your program or new idea in one sentence.

Prevention of child labor through education and advocacy at grassroots level coupled with macro-level policy interventions.

What makes your initiative uniquely positioned to create change in your community?

Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Movement) conceptualized the model of Bal Mitra Gram to eliminate the cause of child labour at the village level. Creating a child labour free village is a step towards BBA's vision of making a child labour free India. Bal Mitra Gram was conceptualized in 1999 and its implementation began in 2001. It has so far been realized in 150 villages and is on-going in 43 more villages in various states of India. The uniqueness of the Bal Mitra Gram (BMG) initiative lies in the active participation of the village children in creating a legitimate democratic space for themselves in panchayats, communities, schools and families. Secondly it addresses the deep rooted problem of child labour and creates a demand and value for good education inculcates village pride, ignites the mass consciousness using the people's potential, power and local resources forming a significant element for success and sustainability. BMG is the true translation of child rights at the grassroots level.

The biggest challenge to our success is:

Lack of awareness: The people of the area were ignorant of the importance of education and were unwilling to send their children to school.
Lack of education facilities like in schools there is no blackboard chalks and even permanent teachers.
Political will and political insurgency etc. became one of the challenges we faced .

Illiteracy: Because of Illiteracy there were lots of superstitions among the local people so to influence the people or to change the attitude of the people, become very difficult. Village people were unaware about different policies and schemes for them.

Lack of infrastructure: There were no basic infrastructure facilities no black board in the school, no proper toilets because of these the retention of children in school was less. There were no roads and the existing roads were in a pathetic condition.

Naxalism and terrorism: The target area is under the influence of naxalite (Maoist insurgency), so intervention in these areas is fraught with danger for the activists. Also, there has been no proper implementation of government policies with government officers hardly coming to the villages to solve their problems.

Describe how you organize and carry out your work?

Preliminary Phase
Identification through a conscious effort with high incidence of child labour. Relevant data is gathered and a preliminary socio- economic survey is conducted.

Main Phase
This phase ensures that all children in the age group of 6-14 years are enrolled in school. Teachers are sensitized for the retention of children in school. In school, the children are made aware of their rights and are encouraged to participate in the decision-making processes of the village. A children's assembly or Bal Panchayat, is formed after an election, with total focus on child-participation and child-leadership. This democratically elected Panchayat represents all children and raises its voice to fight for the rights of children. Thereafter, integration with the Gram Panchayat is undertaken. The members of the Gram Panchayat are sensitized and encouraged to actively involve the children in the policy-decision-making processes of the village. The culmination of this phase involves the handing over of charge to an advisory and working committee consisting of aware and sensitized villagers. The village is then declared and certified as a 'Bal Mitra Gram' or 'Child Friendly Village'.

What is your plan to scale and expand your innovation into your community and beyond?

Experiment the success of a small geographical area to be scaled up and replicated in district and beyond. Dialogue is in progress with corporates and miners regarding corporate social responsibility. The BMGs are successful because they encourage community ownership. Community members are responsible for identifying and acting upon their own community needs, and holding government agencies accountable for their responsibilities to poor families and children.

Scaling out the idea requires funding to provide adequate trainings and collaboration meetings among organizations sharing the BMG model and working together to improve it. It requires internal capacity building for required role changes among our staff members who would be going from implementers to trainers or outreach people. On a broader level, it is important for government bodies and NGOs to adapt a best practices-sharing and to prioritize the bottom-up contributions of villages as a means of creating lasting change. These things can happen with an intensive level of outreach and awareness-building and with bridge-builders to create common ground of action among like-minded organizations.

What other resources, institutional, or policy needs would be necessary to help sustain and scale up your idea?

A comprehensive ban on child labour and implementation of the Right to Education will be the major policy changes impacting our work.

Describe your impact in one sentence, commenting on both the individual and community levels.

Sustainable attitudinal changes towards child labour at the grassroots level acts as an effective deterrent for child employers, as child labour is mainly concentrated in the villages of India.

What impact has your work achieved to date?
Number of individuals served

Work in the Jharkhand area has helped about 10,000 villagers in mining regions. 5 schools were constructed in the villages of Rajoura block by the intervention and the initiation of the villagers under the leadership of Govind Khanal.
Fresh drinking water has been arranged through repair of hand-pumps and digging of new ones. Over 10 villages in the block have benefited.
Advocacy: People were unaware about their Right to Information. As a result there couldn’t be proper implementation of different schemes like old age pension, mid-day meal and National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGA).
Biggest rescue operation of child labourers at hotels/dhabas on October 10 2007, a year after the notification banning child labour in homes, restaurants led by Govind, police and the labour officials in Hazaribag.

Community impact

Mass awareness making the community more tolerant on issues like caste, creed and gender. This right-based approach expands development objectives beyond physical assets and income growth.

Society at large

To derive social change involves bringing a policy change that affects not only a 1000 or 10000 children but the entire society.

What measure do you use to gauge your impact and why?

External evaluation is done through civil society leaders like people from other NGOs, general public like journalists and district officials who have visited the villages and have seen the work in the area. For instance, when the schools that were sanctioned, the District Magistrate of Koderma saw the sites of setting up the school himself and saw the situation that needed dire repair in these villages. This helped faster disbursement of funds.
To evaluate the overall activities of child Friendly village there is a public watch committee which includes prominent people from different areas of the society like journalists, Panchayati Raj members and teachers.
External evaluation through community
We feel our biggest responsibility is towards the stakeholders (Children), community, our activists and colleagues.

How is your initiative currently being financed and how would you finance further expansion and/or replication?

The current initiative is financed by institutional funding from a few partners that have helped in the set-up of Bal Mitra Grams (child friendly villages). However, the schools have been an entirely community driven initiative wherein the funds were mobilized from the district administration by the community. This community driven approach would ensure sustainability.

Provide information on your current finances and organization:

• Annual budget: 1- SCF foreign grant for the year 2007-08 is USD 25000/- from Funding partners.
• Annual revenue :
• Sources of revenue (please provide percentages if known)
• Number of staff
• Full time staff:7
• Part time Staff: 3
• Volunteers: More than 300.

Who are your potential partners and allies?

In order to scale out the Bal Mitra Gram (BMG), we work with different organizations specializing in developing tools for organizations seeking to scale out proven projects. With their help, we re conducting outreach to a number of NGOs, government and UN agencies to propose the adoption of BMGs into various other organizations. We are incorporating The Community at first, policy makers, service providers and society at a large along with Members of Parliament and government ministries who would be interested in incorporating this as a best practice program into their current work.

Who are your potential investors?

The Community
Bilateral and multi lateral funding agencies
Corporate etc.

The Story
What is the origin of this innovation? Tell us your story.

I, Govind Prasad Khanal, was a child labourer from where I was rescued by activists of BBA. I was rehabilitated and educated at the transit home-educational centre of BBA. In 1998, I took part in the global march against child labour, spanning 103 countries that led to the ILO convention 182. I’ve been involved in many BBA activities, raid and rescue operations including in a circus where we were attacked and I was injured badly. Right now, I work in Jharkhand to eliminate child labour from the mica mining region.

Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers marketing material.

Tell us about you (this is confidential)
How did you hear about this contest and what is your main incentive to participate?
We received a mail from Changemakers. The main objective to participate is to generate more awareness on the issue of child labour and propagate education as a tool to eliminate it.