Child-Friendly City project runs out of steam

Published: 30th May 2013 11:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th May 2013 11:34 AM   |  A+A-

The much-touted Child-Friendly City project, a joint initiative of Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) and District Administration to ensure safety and comprehensive development of children in the city is in limbo.

The pilot project was launched in 2008 with an aim of making Kochi the first child-friendly city in the country. It was implemented in association with National Rural Health Mission(NRHM), Kochi Corporation and district education office.

It also had the support of government departments, local self-government and NGOs. As part of the project guidelines were issued. Physical punishment and excess baggage for students were to be stopped. Safe and proper transportation had to be ensured. Clean kitchen and dining space in schools were a must. Atleast four periods had to be set aside for games and sports in a week.

 Schools should provide clean and adequate toilet facilities and safe drinking water for students. The schools which follow the guidelines successfully will be considered child-friendly schools. The city where all primary schools follow the guidelines will be considered child-friendly city.  In its first phase Kochi was selected for implementing the programme and 114 primary schools in the city limits were selected for the project. The schools managed to implement a few of them successfully. Several NGOs and NRHM extended their financial and technical support.  Former President A P J Abdul Kalam had declared Kochi the first child-friendly city in the country. Owning to lack of an effective monitoring system and apathy of authorities, the project is almost dead.

 According to IAP national coordinator Dr S Sachidanda Kammath the child-friendly initiative was launched with great expectations. “In its initial state it was  successful but now it is lagging behind for want of an effective monitoring system,” he said.

“Last year, an evaluation to see if schools were following the guidelines on their own was done and the results was not satisfactory. So the IAP is planning to form a monitoring committee in which the representatives from district administration, NRHM, Kochi Corporation and IAP will be included. There is also a plan to extend the project to upper primary schools this academic year,” he said






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