(With special focus on Child Rights to Safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene)
With an objective to promote meaningful participation of children on WASH, three days workshop on ‘Child Reporters’ was organized at Sehore. In all 15 children from 6 villages namely Aamjhir, Mograram, Alhadakhedi, Sarangakhedi, Mohali and Semradangi participated in the training workshop. It was a three days residential training organized from 3rd May to 5th May’2013.
Child participation is perhaps a concept that is the most misunderstood and a right that is the most difficult to ensure. The reasons for this are many, and are strongly rooted in the traditional view existent in almost all societies that children are ‘immature, irrational and incompetent. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which formally and explicitly acknowledges the rights for children for the first time in international law, also introduces an additional dimension to the status of children by recognising that children should not remain mere recipients of adult protection but children themselves are also entitled to be heard.
Although the convention does not explicitly have the “right to participate” as an article, it does contain a cluster of articles that are considered “participation articles”. The convention does not encourage pressurising children to participate, but to provide all necessary means to encourage and enable children to make their views heard.
- Article 5: evolving capacities;
- Article 9 (2): in proceedings regarding separation from parents;
- Article 12 (1): right to express views and have these views heard;
- Article 13 (1): freedom of expression, etc.;
- Article 14 (1): freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; (2): rights and duties of the parents, etc., to provide direction to the child in the exercise of his or her right consistent with the evolving capacities of the child;
- Article 15 (1): freedom of association and assembly;
- Article 16 (1): right to privacy and freedom from unlawful attacks on honour; (2): right to protection by law against such interference with privacy or attacks;
- Article 17: role of the media and access to information in child friendly manner and that should not harm them.
Objective of the Workshop-
Child Reporter training workshop basically aims to promote freedom of expression among children. Child reporters can enjoy their right to participation in society and can contribute in the development process through writing wall papers, children’s newspapers, letter to editors in mainstream newspapers, magazines etc. This will also help to ensure children rights as children have an opportunity to express their opinions on issues related to them. In this process of training child reporter, those children are given preferences that are socially, economically and politically deprived and their voices are not being heard.
Three days Child Reporter Training has following objectives:
- To develop writing skills of children on WASH and other child rights issues
- To develop sense of responsibility among children.
- To develop leadership skills among children
- Personality development of the children
- To promote group feeling and team spirit among children
- To provide a platform to children to express their opinions and concerns on the issues related with them.
- To develop children’s prospective on WASH in a scientific manner.
Selection of children-
For selection of children for three days residential training, first of all village level children’s events were organized in some selected villages under our project intervention area. These children are from the informal groups formed in the village to promote meaningful participation of children on child rights WASH. In these events children were asked for any form of creative writing like story, poetry, essay etc. They were not given any particular issues but were asked to write on any topic they like as on tree, school, home, village, parents, garden etc. On the basis of their basic writing and articulation skills, children were shortlisted.
Three days of Training-
During three days workshop, efforts were made to have more and more active participation of children. All the 15 children had come out of their homes for first time for attending any residential training. Various child friendly activities, brain storming exercise and games were conducted to bring out the hidden talent of the children.
DAY 1: Getting to know each other
As children are from different villages, therefore the first exercise was focused on knowing each other. For this children were paired in group of two members and each member was asked to ask and write about the other children in his/her group. They have write as much sentence as possible like their name, school in which they study, about their family etc to tell about him/her. Then they introduce each other with the remaining group.
The basic idea behind this activity is to orient children about 5 Ws 1 H (What, When, Where, Why, Who and How). They learn to question each other. This helps to widen their articulation skills. The activity also helped to develop a friendly environment where children can free discuss their quarries.
Creative Writing and Art Work
In the next activity, the child participants were asked to develop any creative writing along with sketch/painting related to that write-up. They are asked to develop any story, incident reporting, and write-up on their own provided that it had not copied from any book or any other source. They were asked to write they had observed in real life.
The objective was to improve creativity among children. They should observe and think about their surrounding and try to write that observations. They are not given any specific topic, they had to write, what they want to. They also had to draw sketch related to that write up, which further helps improve their creative skills.
Read your Write –up
Once the child reporters have completed their write up and art work, each one was asked to present their work to the group. They were asked to read loudly, what they have written and also to present their sketch.
Although most of the children had written the story, which they had heard from their elders, got in their books and that they had watched over TV etc. But this exercise of reading their loudly followed by comments from other participants helped in self realization of the scope of improvement in themselves. They developed sense of confidence to present themselves.
For example one of the boys was very shy while he came to the workshop because he stammers while speaking but when read his write up, he was found very good in reading and was even better than other children in the group. With little encouragement he can do much better.
The feedback from participant and the resource person at the end of each presentation helped to develop prospective on various issues.
Understanding Issues by making queries
To become a child report, it is essential that participants should learn to identify issues in his/her surrounding area. They should learn to make more and more quarries to themselves and to others to answer 5Ws 1H for writing a complete story/news/information/write-up etc whatever they write.
For this an imaginary village based story was used. After telling a part of the story with them, they were asked to raise question to complete the story.
For example – one day a boy reached school very late. Then teacher asked him why you a late today? He said, there was an accident on road. Teacher- What you saw? And likewise story was narrated and children actively participated to ask more and more questions to give twist and turns to story.
At the end child reporters were asked was to narrate such incidences from their real life. Children shared various small incidences like what happened when they fall ill etc. The idea was to orient the child participant about the basic information they must collect to present a situation, incident or story etc.
Identification of Village Resources /Institutions and Creative Writing
In this activity, children were asked to list out various available resources and institutions in their village like Anganwadi Centre, School, Panchayat, hand-pump, drains, toilets etc. Then after listing they were asked to tell their perception about these institutions/ resources. For example: how is your village drain, does it gets cleaned regularly, who cleans it? How is your school, do you like MDM served in your school, do you like your teachers etc.
This listing and discussion helped children to develop prospective for looking at different issues in a positive and creative manner. They learn to look into both sides of the coin, its positive and negative aspects.
After this, each participant was asked to choose one or two subjects from that list according to his/her own understanding of that particular issues and develop a creative write-up based on his/her own village experience. This write up can be supported by a sketch/ cartoon etc.
Day 2: Presentation, Analysis and Re-writing
Second day training started with individual presentation from all the participants. Children beautifully presented their write –up and sketches. After each presentation, the resource person gave a feedback on how these write –ups can be further improved, what else the one can add which is not common and that they want to tell others.
For example – whether the Anganwadi in your village gets open daily or not? Does it provide supplementary nutrition to all children? Is it very far or closer to main village etc.
After all the presentation and analysis, children were asked to re-write their story or write-up to make it more attractive and interesting.
It is important to write any news/ information in a creative manner but its presentation in a attractive manner is equally important to fetch the attention of the target groups. Therefore when the children completed their creative writing and art work, each participant was given a newspaper. They were asked to point out what they found in front page of the newspaper like newspaper title, headings, photographs, date, time, advertisement etc. The objective was to orient the child reporters about the presentation of newspaper and how to it makes it more attractive to read. These child reporters are from rural areas who usually do not get newspaper to read.
Development of Wall Papers
After orienting child reporters about the design of the news paper, the participants were divided into 4 groups. Each group was given chart sheets and paper-pins to develop their wall paper out of the stories/news/articles/ sketches developed by the individuals in the group. They are asked to set these information and paintings in an interesting and attractive manner. The group has to give a unique name its wall paper.
Each group made a hard work to design its wall paper in best possible manner. Each group presented its wall paper and shared its experience while designing these wall papers. The participants told that initially, when they were asked to develop a wall paper, they were not very confident and thought it to be a very difficult task. But when they started doing it in group, they find it very interesting and thus wall papers emerged out.
The names given to wall paper were also very interesting – (1) Bal Vikas Patrika (2) Bacchon ki Sarkar (3) Sehore ki Dhakaan (4) Bachhon ki Soch.
Day 3: Child Rights and WASH
On the third day, children were oriented about child rights which special focused on WASH rights of children in context to their village settings. They were informed about the role of various village based institutions like Anganwadi centre, schools, sub centre etc and role of various service providers like ASHA,ANM, AWWs, Sarpanch, Teachers etc to ensure rights of children (especially WASH rights ) at every stage.
As three days residential training workshop on Child Reporter was altogether a new experience all the child participants, feedback was very important. So children were asked to write their experiences of last three days. The children were happy to attend such training programs and are looking forward for more such workshops.
The workshop ended with some brainstorming exercise and fun games.
During the three days workshop, child reporters came out with number of stories, small write-ups, news and paintings. Many of the articles are focused on child centric WASH issues in the village. As a follow up plan, Samarthan will publish a newsletter based on these write-ups to give a voice to children’s opinions and concerns at various platforms. Also some of these articles will be shared with mainstream media for advocacy of WASH rights of children.
Child Reporter Training Workshop – Picture Gallery