UNICEF in Action(Tamil Nadu)

UNICEF’s efforts in Tamil Nadu are leading to a range of positive outcomes for the state’s children.

More than 10,000 children who were being exploited in cotton seed production have been rescued and supported back into the mainstream through an Integrated Child Protection Project model, a donor-driven programme aiming to eliminate child labour through an integrated approach, implemented in partnership with the district administrations in Salem and Dharmapuri districts. Along with the state government, UNICEF initiated a process to set up state, district and village level child protection structures related to the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS).

UNICEF’s WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) programme is supporting the Government of Tamil Nadu in achieving the MDG Goal for sustainable safe drinking water, basic sanitation and adoption of hygienic practices. The effort is managed through a partnership with the Department of Rural Development, the Panchayat Raj and the Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board.

UNICEF is also attempting to reduce infant and maternal morbidity and mortality by providing support to set up Skills Based Laboratories at state and regional levels. These labs are strengthening the quality of essential and emergency maternal and newborn care.

To advance child rights in Tamil Nadu, UNICEF actively engages and builds capacity of civil society organizations, the media, corporations and academic institutions. Sustained engagement with these groups has led to a range of benefits. Civil society organizations have established a Child Rights Observatory, the Confederation of India Industries has set up a child-centric corporate social responsibility Knowledge Hub, and the Asian College of Journalism has initiated an elective paper on Child Rights and Journalism.

UNICEF initiatives include:

Child Survival

  • Acting as state lead partner in implementing the Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCH+A) scheme under the Government of India’s ‘Call to Action’  programme on child survival and development. UNICEF also is also supporting the governments of Tamil Nadu and Kerala to strengthen key interventions to improve child and maternal mortality rates in seven high priority districts in Tamil Nadu and three districts in Kerala.
  • Providing monitoring and evaluation support to the Department of Public Health (DPH) for RMNCH+A interventions to improve coverage and quality in hard to reach blocks of high priority districts.
  • Promoting newborn care through cohort monitoring of Special Newborn Care Units (SNCUs) in Tamil Nadu and a home based care demonstration project in Krishnagiri.
  • Supporting health institutions in onsite mentoring, monitoring and supervision of skill lab trained health care providers in 42 Health Unit Districts (HUDs).
  • Sustaining routine immunization and supporting the DPH to address Adverse Effects of Following Immunization (AEFI) of the pentavalent vaccine.


  • Prioritizing Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practice under Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and linking it with growth monitoring-promotion in the tribal areas of the state.
  • Implementing, in partnership with the state’s Integrated Child Development Scheme, Infant and Young Child Nutrition (IYCN) interventions. Based on WHO and UNICEF guidelines, these are designed to prevent stunting, wasting and malnutrition for overall child survival and development.
  • Strengthening implementing Weekly Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation (WIFS) and SABLA (Rajiv Ghandi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls) in partnership with the State Council Educational Research and Training (SCERT), National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and ICDS.
  • Improving supportive supervision in ICDS by validating growth monitoring data (weight by age of preschool children under three years of age) in all Anganwadis (government health and day care centres).
  • Creating demand for iodized salt through a multi-sectoral communication strategy in high priority districts of the state.
  • Streamlining a strategy for vitamin A supplementation in the state through a fixed week approach.
  • Modelling nutrition management for children at risk of HIV.


  • Providing active support to the Department of School Education (DSE) to comply with the child friendly features in all schools as specified in the Right to Education Act. The Directorate of Elementary Education and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) have joined hands with UNICEF to develop a trainers’ module and pamphlet for School Management Committees (SMCs).
  • Supporting Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) in creating a training module to revise the syllabus on early childhood development and education.
  • Extending life skills and academic help through adolescent clubs in hard to reach areas in partnership with civil society organizations.
  • Collaborating with the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), the national universal secondary education programme, to implement a holistic model for transition of adolescents to secondary education in two hard to reach tribal blocks.
  • Providing technical support to district and state academic authorities and flagship programmes to improve the education quality. Supporting State Council Educational Research and Training (SCERT) efforts to revise the syllabus and curriculum for teacher training.
  • Collaborating with SCERT and civil society organizations to develop a “Teachers’ Handbook on Child Rights”.
  • In a joint effort with UNICEF’s Nutrition and WASH teams, assisting the District Superintendent of Education to ensure consumption of iron and folic acid supplements and facilitate health and hygiene practices among school children. Sharing lessons from these initiatives with the state government for periodic review of policies and programmes for adolescents.
  • In partnership with SSA, introducing a package on physical education activities and life skills to build self esteem in and respect for girls in the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV) scheme. The KGBV scheme provides residential schools at upper primary level for girls belonging predominantly to lower castes and minority communities.

Child Protection

  • Enabling set up of child protection structures under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) at state, district and village level. In two focus districts, Salem and Dharmapuri, the functioning child protection committees are linked with the institutions such as the Child Welfare Committee, Juvenile Justice Board and Childline to function more effectively.
  • Developing jointly with the Labour Department an action plan to address the protection and other rights of children from migrant families. Tamil Nadu is one of India’s most urbanized states and attractsvast numbers of migrant families from other states.
  • Establishing a registration process for all child care institutions under the Juvenile Justice Act (both government and NGO-run institutions) and developing protocols for minimum standards of care and protection.
  • Designing and implementing a robust mechanism to prevent child marriage in the three focus districts of Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri and Salem.
  • Establishing the Integrated Child Protection Project model, a donor-driven programme aiming to eliminate child labour through an integrated approach, in Salem and Dharmapuri, in collaboration with all relevant government departments.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

  • Lending technical support to the Communication and Capacity Development Unit of the Department of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj in an effort to eliminate open defecation and promote hygiene practices.
  • Building capacity of stakeholders to promote improved access to safe water at household and institution level (school, Anganwadi and health centres) and demonstrate water security and safety models in village panchayats.
  • Collaborating with the Education Department to build capacity in teachers, Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and School Management Committees (SMCs) about child friendly water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure. UNICEF is also demonstrating model schools for WASH and promoting hand washing with soap amongst school children at critical times, especially before the mid-day meal.
  • In an effort to improve the state’s Infant Mortality Rate and Maternal Mortality Rate, promoting convergent planning and implementation of national flagship programmes alongside UNICEF’s Health, Education and Nutrition teams.
  • Implementing a communication strategy designed to eliminateopen defecation in the state, and documenting good practices in WASH for wider dissemination and possible future replication.

Disaster Risk Reduction

  • Building the capacity of government and non-government partners and UNICEF staff on UNICEF’s Core Commitments for Children (CCCs) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) measures.
  • Coordinating and consulting with partners at the state levelto develop standards in humanitarian situations in the UNICEF focus areas of WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene), Nutrition, Health, Education and Child Protection.
  • Preparing situational reports in disaster situations and sharing these with the DRR section in Delhi.
  • Liaising with government departments in disaster situations and providing need-based support.
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