What is the origin of this innovation? Tell us your story.
In 1995 Bhima Sangha and The Concerned for Working Children, in collaboration with the Ministry of Rural Development and Decentralisation, initiated the formation of Makkala Panchayats (children’s councils) in five Gram Panchayats in Karnataka.
Bhima Sangha had a long history of negotiating with representatives of governments in order to improve the quality of their lives. But despite their interaction with local administrative and government bodies, Bhima Sangha felt that sustained results were lacking and that a permanent structure enabling close interaction between children and decision-making bodies was required to inform and influence local governance to ensure that children has space and opportunities to take part in decision making processes in their Panchayats. Children felt that not only organised ‘working children’, but all children needed such a platform. The Makkala Panchayats were set up not only for working children but also for school children and children with disabilities as well.
The Makkala Panchayats were created as parallel government bodies to the Gram Panchayats. These councils, first of their kind in India, show the potential of children to articulate their issues, substantiate their demands with data and elicit responses that were rooted in a children's rights framework. They show how children can think laterally and responsibly if their capacities are recognised and opportunities are provided to them. Now they exist in 56 Panchayats.
Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers marketing material.
Damodhar Acharya, founder members of CWC& present Executive Director. His activism began in the trade union movement. He has more than 25 years of field experience in implementing programmes. Facilitated children’s Protagonism and Governance strengthening children’s agency. Member of the CHAKRA Network set up by Prof. Hiran Dias of the Asian Institute of Technology Bangkok. Key conveners of State level campaign to protect the rights of decentralized Governments in the State. Led the formation of the 1ST ever migrant workers union in the country. Global fellow of Ashoka.