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Strengthening Child Protection Mechanisms

A holistic approach to child protection requires the engagement of both formal and informal child protection mechanisms which are also known as community-led or community-based child protection mechanisms. The formal child protection system consists of elements that are established or sanctioned by the government and guided by law, regulations and policies. Community-based child protection mechanism can be defined as a network or group of individuals at the community level who work in a coordinated manner towards child protection goals. Such mechanisms can be indigenous or externally initiated and supported. They may be more formal or informal in their structure and functioning. The Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) in India suggests guidelines for village-level child protection committees (VCPCs) that are informal child protection committees representative of community members and stakeholders and provides scope for convergence of formal and informal child protection mechanisms.


RESOURCES

  • It Takes a Village : VCPC Toolkit
    Leher, 2019

    Leher has been implementing a pilot community-led child protection intervention in the District of Madhubani, Bihar, since 2014, using participatory processes to test and learn the potential of local leadership of communities in demanding and securing child rights and protection. Leher’s vision is a society where caring families, alert communities and a responsive government work together to ensure rights and protection for every child. In June 2017, Leher developed a “Virtual companion aka a VCPC Tool Kit” in partnership with the State government of Maharashtra, Maharashtra State Child Protection Society (MSCPS) and UNICEF, to build synergy (linkages and relationships) between communities, young people and the child protection system. This VCPC Tool Kit is a knowledge kit aimed at strengthening community-led child protection mechanisms. It helps bridge the gap left by the dearth of human resources and assumes that communities must take up this work by themselves. The VCPC toolkit handholds grassroots child protection workers and members of VCPC as they begin a journey towards social change. The tool kit aims to provide a foundation for VCPCsto to build its mandate and work. The VCPC toolkit comprises eight films and five IEC materials which speak to VCPC and community members. It also includes a training manual with more than 30 hours of training for trainers who have the opportunity to train, interact, orient VCPC such as the District Child Protection Units (DCPU) staff, community mobilisers from NGOs/government, youth volunteers, and VCPC members themselves.

  • Together for Children: A Community's Journey
    Leher, 2017

    In 2014, Leher partnered with Sarvo Prayas Sansthan (SPS) to develop and implement a community based preventive child protection initiative in the district of Madhubani in Bihar. The program focuses on organizing and capacity building communities, to take self-driven initiative and to work in collaboration with the government to protect and keep their children safe. We adopt a participatory approach to the work in communities, encouraging them to set the agenda for issues they want to address. The position taken with communities is that this program does not bring the answers, but would instead hand hold communities through a journey of transformation, where we learn and find answers together from resources which, exist in the environment. Into the third year of work in Madhubani, this report is a documentation of learning and insights from the field.