THE INITIATIVE "SAKSHAM" (2008-2013)
The objectives of this initiative focused on:
- Educating communities about children's rights
- Creating a children's forums to give children the opportunity to freely share with each other and engage with adults about their issues and experiences
- Enabling better access to education by providing educational resources and monitoring the quality of education services
- Strengthening health systems through additional health care and health education
- Fostering life skills to empower children beyond formal education
- Advocate for children's interests in various areas of government policy
Under this initiative, each of the participating villages and slum communities founded a committee consisting of adults and children responsible to foster respect for children and children's rights. The committee meetings focused on children's and women's rights, education, health, access to drinking water, roads, electricity, corruption, as well as potential solutions to these issues. Many communities decided to end child marriage, child labor, and even child abuse. They further organised campaigns against alcohol abuse and gambling. In the children's forum, the initiative promoted creativity through games, theatre, dance, and music, whilst also teaching about child rights, the importance of school education, hygiene, and health care. For women's empowerment, too, considerable progress could be achieved. Women learned to embrace a new sense of leadership and were able to overcome the powerlessness have they felt before.
In rural areas access to health care and education services is very poor. Communities often fear to engage with government agencies in charge or simply do not know which services they are entitled to by law. With the help of “Government-Community Interface", it was possible to improve the cooperation between authorities and schools. As part of this process, problems in government programmes were identified and service delivery could be improved. This created access to job cards and pensions and led to the approval well and road construction projects. Rural health services were strengthened through mobile health camps.
Controls and review
The initiative was supported, accompanied, and reviewed by the international auditing firm Ernst & Young.