On 9th September, 2018, a group discussion program was organized on “Session On Gender and Literacy Day” at Kholta Bazar, Khoribari, Darjeeling with the participation of total 32 community adolescent girls. The main objective of the program was to understand the society’s view towards gender and to understand their future plans as to where they want to see themselves.
Discussions were mainly on awareness regarding the literacy and gender related issues. Apart from this the program was mainly organized in order to understand the participants’ concept about gender and identify their positive qualities and future plans.
This event started with the sharing of the importance of literacy day celebration where the participants were given the brief idea about literacy and why this day is celebrated. And then the participants were asked about the importance of education in their life and were also asked about their planning after completing their education.
Following the session, the issues of gender were also discussed where the participants were divided into small groups of 2 members each in one group. These groups were asked to tell about the good qualities or the assets of their partner. Later after this session a brief explanation was given on gender and sex wherein the participants were asked to differentiate between the two. The response from the participants were that there is discrimination against girls prevalent in their community and early marriage is a common practice .However, not just with girls, the boys of age group 14 to 15 also face issues such as labor work, especially if the boy is a school dropout. Also later the participants pointed out that their mothers face domestic violence every single day.
ALSO IN NORTH BENGAL:
Nutrition week celebration
CINI with the partnership of ICDS workers and Health workers initiated to observe Nutrition week in five intervention areas of ward no. 1, 4, 18, 20 & 28 within the Siliguri Municipal Corporation and other working areas of CINI i.e, Darjeeling, Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri district as well to reduce the malnutrition among the children and promote healthy motherhood, and healthy new born babies and children in the community.
Nutrition week was celebrated for 6 days in different intervention areas of Ward no. 1, 4, 18, 20 & 28 including total participation of 1089 pregnant women, lactating mothers and children below 2 years of age from the community. The resource persons who took the orientation sessions for 6 days were ICDS workers and Health workers, who showed power point presentation on nutrition, health and hygiene maintenance, weight measurement of a child, demonstration on spot feeding, how to cut vegetable and steps for cooking food for a child, and also taught women especially mothers on how to monitor the growth of their child with the help of growth chart. These were the basic training given to the women or mothers to make them more active so that they can take the best care of their child at their nurturing stage for their child’s physical and mental development. Also in few ICDS centres in some wards under SMC, Annaprasan also known as “Food Feeding” an infant’s first intake of food other than milk was observed.
Similarly in the rural areas this event was observed in a widespread manner. Nutrition fair was organized in some block areas of Jalpaiguri district and in Alipurduar district for the entire month. Awareness programs on food and nutrition, skits by adolescent group demonstrating the importance of nutrition , miking and rallies were held the entire month as part of the fair. In some areas like Dhupguri resource hubs were inaugurated during the Nutrition week celebration in convergence mode. In some ICDS centres the staff displayed the nutritious food and cereals during the entire week as part of the sensitization campaign. Nutrition flag was also demonstrated to the participants during mass awareness programs on how to maintain tri colour food everyday which would help to fight against malnutrition.
Breastfeeding week celebrations
World Breastfeeding Week is an annual celebration which is held each year. Likewise, this year Breastfeeding week was celebrated in the various intervention areas of CINI . This week was observed in five wards 1, 4, 18, 20 & 28 within Siliguri Municipal Corporation, and in many areas under Jalpaiguri District and in Kalchini Block in Alipurduar District with the initiative of CINI in partnership with the ICDS workers and health worker including lactating mothers and pregnant women’s as the participant.
The main objective of breast feeding week is to get the goal of exclusive breastfeeding by mother for their baby during the first six months of the child’s birth to fulfill all vital nutrients, to encourage mother for the healthy growth and development of their child and to guard them from any kind of health problems and diseases including neonatal jaundice, pneumonia, cholera and many more.
The breast feeding week in the urban slum wards under Siliguri Municipal Corporation saw a total participation of 962 lactating mothers and pregnant women. Many programs were organized in collaboration with the AWW’s at the ICDS Centre where through different mediums like videos showing and sensitization programs, the message of exclusive breastfeeding was passed down to the community.
In Kalchini GP this event was observed in convergence with the Village Health and Nutrition Day event program. In Jalpaiguri an interface was held with the government officials and the AWW’s and health workers was held. Also media interface was held in certain areas to highlight the role of media on health issues. In other areas installation of I.E.C in sub centres and public places in the community with easy access for people to read and understand the importance of Exclusive Breastfeeding and techniques was also put up.
Cross border consultation on repatriation of children from Nepal
Repatriation of children from Nepal to India has been a very complex phenomenon and a big challenge to handle for governments and NGOs from both sides of the border especially in North Bengal since it shares porous borders with Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. In order to streamline the procedure, it was planned by CINI and Anti-Trafficking Network (ATN) in association with District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) Darjeeling to facilitate in preparing a guideline to help formulate Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for repatriation of Nepalese children. For this purpose, a program titled “Cross-Border Consultation on Repatriation of Children from Nepal” was held on 28th September in Siliguri. The participants in the program were members from CWC, JJB, Childline India Foundation, Sashatra Seema Bal (SSB), Police Personnel, DCPU, shelter homes and NGOs from Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri Districts and few NGO’s from the Nepal counterpart. The Inspector General of the SSB, Siliguri Frontier Headquarter, Mr. Shrikumar Bandopadhyay was the Guest of Honor for this special event.
A thorough panel discussion comprising of the government stakeholders from the district along with NGO’s from the Indian side, and thereafter NGOs from Nepal side revealed that repatriation is a complex process involving too many stakeholders at both sides of the border making the process tedious, complicated and time consuming. As a result of this, there is a lack of coordination between the stakeholders as well. Hence, formulation of an SOP is a need of an hour which can help expedite the repatriation process of Nepalese children with the involvement of government departments of both the countries.
At the meeting, all the key players directly involved in repatriation of Nepalese children shared their roles and responsibilities, the limitations and challenges in terms of the same, owing to no proper guideline or mechanism for the process. Some of the participants during the meeting were of the opinion that repatriation or family integration may not be the best solution due to safety and protection concerns for the child and should be provided with an option to rehabilitate in India if it is for the best interest of a child. However some stakeholders also expressed that repatriation is easier and less accountable process in comparison with that of rehabilitation. Similarly the data of the total number of rescued children from Nepal was also shared by DCPU and the data showed that some are not yet repatriated to their home country.
Representatives from Nepal counterpart shared that since Nepal is adopting a new federal system of government and is very new to provincial government, the new laws are being formulated which will take some time though the process is already underway. They also stressed that there needs to be proper coordination between the two countries for making the verification of children better. Apart from this, assurance has been given by the representatives of Nepal that the issue will be put forward to the concerned departments and they will lobby with the government of Nepal as soon as possible regarding the issue of Repatriation.
Further more , during the program, the participants suggested that there needs to be a devise or database developed for tracking of the repatriated children. Also, an important issue was raised that is to develop mechanisms to organize interaction and review between the stakeholders from different line departments on a regular basis. Therefore, recommendations were made in order to strengthen inter sectoral responses at all levels while dealing with the process of repatriation. Overall the program was effective with participation from all stakeholders. The West Bengal Task Force (WBTF) being the nodal agency for repatriation for the children of our state, it was decided that the recommendations, contribution and feedback from the stakeholders during the meeting will be shared with WBTF by CINI.