UNICEF in Action(Gujarat)

UNICEF established its office in Gujarat in 1992, and since then has been collaborating with the Government of Gujarat to support the accelerated and sustained wellbeing of children in the state. Inclusion and participation of disadvantaged children continues to be a high priority.

UNICEF works closely with various departments at state, district and sub-district levels, as well as with civil society institutions such as networks of women, youth and children’s organizations, NGOs, professional bodies, academia and research organizations, among others.

As a result of these partnerships, successful and replicable models in health, nutrition, education, water and sanitation, and child protection have been developed and scaled up to deliver measurable results for children.

The emphasis has been on building the government’s capacity, strengthening systems, institutions and networks, advocating for evidence-based policies, and empowering communities and local groups to adopt appropriate behaviours and practices.

The overall focus of UNICEF’s collaboration in Gujarat is to:

  • Improve the quality and reach of major flagship programmes in the areas of reproductive and child health, nutrition, education, water and sanitation and child protection through equity-focused, cost-effective and measurable strategies.
  • Facilitate evidence-based policy dialogue which has the potential to bring about quality improvement and enhance coverage.
  • Develop and implement effective and contextually relevant communication strategies to address the knowledge, attitudes and practices of various groups, in particular, children, adolescents and women.  
  • Develop effective strategies for replicating successful models or interventions at a larger scale, to reach out to the most marginalized communities.

3a. UNICEF initiatives include:

Child Survival

  • Supporting strategic Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCH+A) interventions across age groups, with a special focus on eight high priority districts and 77 high priority talukas (community blocks).
  • Supporting antenatal care during pregnancy and skilled care during labour and delivery and postnatal care.
  • Promoting special care for newborns at health facilities and at home.
  • Reviewing maternal and infant deaths for corrective actions.
  • Helping prevent and manage childhood diarrhoea and pneumonia through Integrated Management of Neonatal and Childhood Illnesses (IMNCI) strategies and facility-based care.
  • Improving coverage and quality of routine immunization for children and women and outreach health and nutrition services through Mamta Diwas (Village Health and Nutrition Days).
  • Supporting comprehensive reproductive health and nutrition services for adolescents including Weekly Iron Folic Acid Supplementation (WIFS).
  • Strengthening partnerships with civil society organizations, professional bodies and medical colleges to increase access to quality health services and creating demand for such services.
  • Supporting the National Health Mission and State Health Society to: develop programme implementation plans; build capacity of health managers in data management, supportive supervision, concurrent monitoring and review mechanisms; and raise community awareness and demand-generation for RMNCH+A services.

Nutrition

  • Helping prevent and manage under-nutrition through: Promotion of Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices, including exclusive breastfeeding up to six months and introduction of complementary feeding from the seventh month of life; management of children with Severe and Acute Malnutrition (SAM); and anemia prevention and control through support in the rolling out of the National Iron Plus Initiative (NIPI), including Weekly Iron Folic acid Supplementation (WIFS).
  • Supporting the state Department of Women and Child Development for effective implementation of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) programme and the Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls (SABLA).
  • Providing support for capacity-building and life skills enhancement of adolescents and frontline workers for the SABLA initiative.

Education

  • Supporting the state government to improve quality in education through child-friendly school systems and Right to Education (RTE) compliances.
  • Strengthening early childhood education by building a better foundation for pre-schoolers.
  • Supporting the state government to improve teacher education through engaging with the State Institute of Educational Research and Training (SIERT) and District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs).
  • Working in partnership with Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA) towards development of child-friendly schools and safe learning spaces.
  • Supporting Pragna (activity-based learning) and child -friendly school elements in primary education.
  • Building capacities of School Management Committees (SMCs) to improve school development plans and their implementation through involvement of parents and communities.
  • Developing child-friendly teaching modules and learning materials for teachers.
  • Supporting life skills education and transition of girls from Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV), which are educational facilities for girls from marginalised communities, to higher education.
  • Advocating and supporting improved education data systems and monitoring mechanism.
  • Supporting the state government in devising systems to not only track out-of school children but also their academic performance of children according to their age.

Child Protection

  • Supporting effective implementation of the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) through: Capacity-building of ICPS functionaries; developing District Child Protection Plans; promoting child-friendly policing by setting up Special Juvenile Protection Units; rolling out child-tracking system for missing children and children in need of care and protection; and supporting the state Department of Labour and Employment in implementing the State Plan of Action on Prevention of Child Labour.
  • Addressing child marriage through an integrated approach: change in social norms and empowerment through life skills enhancement.
  • Establishing partnerships with civil society organizations in select districts to empower adolescents and communities to promote a protective environment for children.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

  • Facilitating effective implementation of the Swachch Bharat Mission (SBM), focusing on a 100 per cent Open Defecation Free state through: Development and rolling out of a Sanitation and Hygiene Communication and Advocacy Strategy; capacity-building of front line workers and supervisors on sanitation and hygiene across the state.
  • In partnership with the Water and Sanitation Management Organization (WASMO) and  Gujarat Water Supply and Sewerage Board (GWSSB), facilitating water safety planning and rolling out of the Drinking Water Advocacy and Communication Strategy (DWACS).
  • In partnership with SSA and ICDS, ensuring functional WASH facilities in all schools and Anganwadis (government health and day care centres), and adoption of appropriate hygiene practices, including hand washing with soap before the mid-day meal, by all children, teachers and other functionaries.

Social Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation

  • Supporting the government to improve data systems in terms of filling in data gaps, improving coverage, enhancing quality of analysis and its dissemination to strengthen the evidence base on outcomes for children.
  • Strengthening the policy framework and implementation capacity of large-scale state and national programmes to reduce disparities among disadvantaged groups.
  • Promoting public discourse on the status of children, achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), combined with the required policy framework and reporting on the implementation of flagship schemes.

Communication for Development

  • Addressing community-based practices and demand for services through comprehensive multi-dimensional social and behaviour change communication interventions, fostering positive attitudes, norms and practices in the best interests of children.
  • Strengthening local and sustained community-based initiatives through partnerships with dairy cooperatives, NGOs and other community-based structures such as adolescent groups, to reach out to hard-to-reach excluded populations through an intensive behaviour change programme.
  • Building capacities of grassroot functionaries of various government flagship programmes for better interpersonal communication and community mobilization skills to enable them to enhance their engagement with the community and ensure adoption of appropriate behaviours towards child survival, development and protection.
  • Integrating life skills initiatives in the ongoing adolescent programming of various government departments.

Advocacy and Communication

  • Establishing partnerships with private sector organizations, corporates, academia, media associations, parliamentarians and policymakers to generate or disseminate knowledge and updates on key children’s issues.
  • Initiating and sustaining public dialogue with key influencers and decision-makers to ensure that children’s issues are accorded priority on their agenda.
  • Creating and promoting forums and networks for adolescent participation to ensure adolescents’ voices, opinions and ideas are heard, respected and considered by key decision-makers on issues that affect their lives.
  • Establishing partnerships with media partners and bloggers to encourage public discourse and highlight key issues relating to children and adolescents.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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