- 30 January, 2012
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The Gold Standard Award for NGO Engagement identifies excellence in NGO engagement with external groups. It applies to domestic and international NGOs operating in Asia Pacific or to Asian NGOs operating overseas. The winners of this award have achieved “Gold Standard” in their strategic engagement with government, business or civil society.
Read more about why CRY was chosen for this award.
Despite the growing size of India’s economy (GDP has now passed $1 trillion),India continues to have widespread problems regarding vulnerable and uneducated children. Child Rights and You’s (CRY) analysis clearly shows that a range of policies are impacting children negatively. CRY campaigns for equal inclusion of everyone, including the poorest, in a village’s decision-making.It builds resilient communities which can demand entitlements for their children and themselves. Using this approach, CRY now works with over 700,000 children and their families in 7,745 villages and urban slums,spread across 20 states in India. This progress is due to the support of over 250 volunteers and 200,000 individual donors worldwide.
CRY’s approach in children’s education works through a three-phase engagement: firstly by identifying the most marginalised, secondly through an examination of the root causes of the deprivation, and thirdly in providing real solutions to problems by making sure that the laws and policies that guarantee their rights are actually implemented.
A hybrid of corporate and development sector cultures that defies the conventional definitions of philanthropy exists as the preserve of the wealthy.
CRY is aiming to change the philanthropic paradigm and mindsets regarding how children are viewed by policy makers, media, non-profit organisations and the general public, and this has the potential to achieve sweeping change for children and marginalised communities.
CRY started work on empowering under privileged children and the communities they belonged to by actively partnering smaller/grassroots-level NGOs working in remote and neglected areas of India. These smaller organisations are trained to mobilise rural and urban communities to access their entitlements through collective action. Such policy advocacy work continues with two key demands today: one, to extend the right of education to all children (it currently covers children from six to 14 years of age only); and secondly, to ensure that state governments pass the requisite policies to implement the entitlements guaranteed by this law.
The impact of CRY’s work on children’s education manifests at two levels. A look at the impact of year 2010-11 showcases that at the level of the village and/or slum,it has ensured that 384,109 children are enrolled in schools. A further 21,676 children who had dropped out of school have been re-enrolled,with 80 new government schools being opened as a result of campaigns and sustaining follow-up with local Education Departments at the Block and District levels. A further 157 government schools were upgraded and 103 were prevented from closing down by repeated petitioning of the authorities concerned.
CRY’s work made sure that these schools had one teacher per class who attended regularly, and that the essential infrastructure, such as separate toilets for boys/ girls and potable drinking water, are in place. In the last 30 years, CRY’s work in education and other fundamental rights has reached 1.5 million children across India.
CRY’s model is currently being used directly by the 220 partner organisations working in 23 states across the country. A further 500 organisations who are part of the state-based alliances CRY supports are now convinced about, and are attempting to replicate, the model in their field areas. CRY plans to consolidate the impact of its work across states and to advocate the relative advantages of this approach in strengthening inclusive democracy. Besides this, the plan envisages ensuring that the voice of children is heard and addressed at the levels of administration, judiciary, law enforcement, and policy making–in short, in all governance mechanisms. In 2010, CRY had press conferences in four metro cities of the country where children spoke directly to the press on the hurdles that they face while accessing their fundamental rights.
(Courtesy: Public Affairs Asia Gold Standard Awards)