Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) play a critical role in supporting UNICEF efforts to deliver results for children and are fundamental to the work UNICEF carries out for children in India.
They not only contribute to maximising the reach and impact of programmes, but also help in opening up areas for dialogue with the Government and other actors, and contribute their capacities and expertise to high quality policy and normative discussions for children.
UNICEF India works with a diverse group of CSOs that offer a broad range of specialized knowledge and experience. It is this diversity that produces some of the most innovative and effective achievements for children.
CSOs work with UNICEF on a broad range of child-related issues. Some partnerships, for examle, focus on strengthening child protection systems in relation to violence and sexual abuse, while others implement strategies for improving access to basic heath services for mothers and children.
UNICEF works with CSOs to create community-led plans for hygiene improvement and water safety and to esure that all children have access to education. Some CSO partners focus specifically on children whereas others address a range of issues, including poverty, climate change, health, gender equality and violence.
Partnerships between CSOs and UNICEF use numerous strategies to achieve results for children. Many partnerships are formed to carry out programming for children in countries, where the majority of UNICEF's work takes place.
CSOs and UNICEF also work together with communities to engage in advocacy and policy reform and to promote child participation. Some partnerships focus on responding to emergencies or humanitarian crisis, providing basic services to populations in need. Others concentrate on working with governments to ensure they meet child rights obligations. Some CSOs carry out a combination of all of this work, whereas others focus exclusively on a single area.
What is 'civil society'?
It is difficult to define civil society in a few words, because it involves diverse actors within and across countries. For the purpose of partnerships, UNICEF understands civil society as the sphere of autonomous associations that are independent of the public and for-profit sectors and designed to advance collective interests and ideas. CSOs may be formal or informal, and they work with a broad range of political, legal, economic, social and cultural contexts.
They do no represent a unified social force or a coherent set of values; they are as diverse as the people and issues around which they organize.
The types/forms of CSOs that we work or partner with include:
-International and national Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)
-Think tanks and research institutions
Many partnerships have been forged using numerous strategies to achieve results for children. Such as those for advocacy with the government and other actors to ensure they meet child rights obligations, some to carry out programming for children, and also those focusing on responding to emergencies or humanitarian crises. UNICEF and CSOs also work together with communities to engage in advocacy and policy reform, and to promote child participation.
Together, we work to address a range of challenges faced by children in India – child protection, health, nutrition, water and sanitation, and education. Through these partnerships UNICEF has been able to create opportunities to strengthen innovative approaches and programming for children in India.