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Children from the Kidizens Childrens Parliament Network run by the Edmund Rice Development in New Delhi India

Sandra Neville, Safeguarding Person at Misean Cara visited some of the projects Misean Cara funds in India during November and December 2017. The purpose of the visit was to observe the implementation of safeguarding practices and to support Misean Cara members in this area.

One of the projects Sandra visited was Pratyek, House of Kidizens Children’s Parliaments, run by the Edmund Rice Development. The project focuses on developing and enhancing Children’s Rights Parliaments in New Delhi and Mumbai.

The Children’s Parliament Network covers the whole country of India, including its 29 states and 7 Union Territories. The development of the Network is particularly important as India has the world’s largest youth population. The Network showcases how children across the globe can participate in decisions affecting their rights.

The focus of the project is to deepen and strengthen the network of Children’s Parliaments across the country with a proactive band of empowered young kidizens (children). The kidizens monitor, evaluate and ensure the realisation of their rights at grassroots level, as well as advocating for their rights at the state, national and global levels.

Br. Steve who co-ordinates the project outlined what they hope to achieve:

We want to create a formal network of children’s parliaments that can be replicated throughout India, and which is a medium through which children in India can be involved in influencing change, from the level of Gram Panchayats (local government), to national policy changes. At the same time, our aim is to lobby to get the Government to facilitate this process of settling up and running children’s parliaments across India. The current party that is running the government included in its election manifesto, it has promised to set up children’s parliaments across India but it’s not been done yet. We want to hold the duty-bearers to account to fulfill their obligations to the rights holders, the children.”

This is the first year Misean Cara will be funding this project, and we look forward to seeing it develop and make a difference to the lives of the children.

Special report by Sandra Neville, Safeguarding Person, Misean Cara.

Photo caption: Children from the Kidizens Children’s Parliament Network run by the Edmund Rice Development in New Delhi, India. Consent was given by the children, parents and guardians to take and share this photograph.