Third Annual National Conference ‘Plan For Every Child – Girls Get Equal’
The third edition of the ‘Plan For Every Child (P4EC)-Girls Get Equal’ National Conference was held from December 5-7, 2018 at India Habitat Centre in New Delhi. The three-day long meaningful discussions aimed at formalising clear action points to strengthen child protection mechanisms in India, especially for girls and young women, in order to ensure their wellbeing and right to a dignified life. Organised by Plan India, in partnership with the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Plan For Every Child National Conference brought together people from diverse backgrounds like jurists, government officials, media, civil society organisation, experts and child rights practitioners from national and international sphere.
The inaugural session was attended by Mr. Rakesh Srivastava, Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development; Ms. Upma Srivastava, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment among others. Hon’ble Mr. Justice Madan B. Lokur of the Supreme Court of India was also present at the conference to deliver the keynote address on prevention, justice and accountability for children.
The 2018 P4EC National Conference focused on improving the system’s approach in the country to strengthen child protection. More than 80 eminent speakers from diverse background deliberated on systems strengthening for child protection as a critical factor in the governance of any country. The key partners focussed on systems to create strong safety nets for girls and young women with a vision to enable children, especially girls to learn, lead, decide and thrive.”
The three-day conference facilitated multiple sessions, presentations and discussions on various aspects of child protection including the need for research and evidence building; role of media, communities, grassroots institutions, executive, legislature in putting the last girl first; integrated approaches and the role of technology in achieving gender justice.
One of the key highlights of the conference was the special session called ‘Make our World Safe – Who is Accountable?’ on children’s experiences and perceptions of safety at home, school and community. The voices were gathered through participatory consultation with children between 5-10 years across four states of Plan India programme areas. The session sought to capture voices of children towards their development and protection, particularly girls as their voices and concerns are mostly unheard with an assumption of incapability.
The Plan for Every Child National Conference in 2016 and 2017 acted as a forum to exchange ideas and foster dialogue on issues related to children in difficult circumstances. The 2018 National Conference brought rich and varied perspectives on exploring approaches for system strengthening and policy change, specifically for child protection; Making institutions more gender responsive to accommodate the unique needs of children, especially girls. Acknowledging and addressing specific vulnerabilities so that no child is left behind; Reflection on prevention, Justice and accountability and response in light of policy, practice and role of duty bearers, particularly the Judiciary, Juvenile Justice Homes and Law Enforcement agencies. Discoursing the many ways in which they can empower children to learn, lead, decide and thrive.
Plan India also partnered with credible media houses such as CNN, CNBC TV18, The Quint and Dainik Bhaskar, who reported and promoted National Conference in their respective forums.
Situation of Children in India
23 million children below 6 years are malnourished
*ICDS Status Report
18 million children live and work on the streets
4.3 million children are employed as child labourers
*2011 Census of India
Plan for Every Child 2018 – Girls Get Equal
Girls Get Equal, the theme for this year’s conference is Plan’s international campaign focussing on advocating for the power of girls and their right to be equally seen, heard and valued. The Plan for Every Child National Conference will aim to address the issues of discrimination against children in difficult circumstances, specifically girls through the national initiative.
- Explore approaches for System strengthening and policy change, specifically for child protection.
- Making institutions more gender responsive to accommodate the unique needs of children, especially girls. Acknowledging and addressing specific vulnerabilities so that no child is left behind.
- Reflection on prevention, Justice and accountability and response in light of policy, practice and role of duty bearers, particularly the Judiciary, Juvenile Justice Homes and Law Enforcement agencies. Discoursing the many ways in which they can empower children to learn, lead, decide and thrive.
2017 National Conference
The Plan For Every Child – Leave No Girl Behind, National Conference will be held in New Delhi from November 1-3, 2017 at the India Habitat Centre. The focus this year will be on finding solutions towards inclusion, access and opportunities for girls who are marginalised, excluded and in vulnerable circumstances. A number of subcategories have been identified as the focus areas. Some of these will be taken-up in detail in the conference sessions. Others, such as girls within child marriage, girls affected by HIV/AIDS, girls and online bullying, etc. will be covered under research and other campaign initiatives. This year, the conference will expand its purview to ‘learning through sharing’, by inviting experts from other countries in the region to share their experiences and good practices.
The National Conference will have a multi-fold objective, to discuss and deliberate on issues through participatory sessions and discussions which are solution-oriented, and to specifically look at the interface of inclusion, access and opportunities for girls within the various identified and prioritised sub-groups.
These prioritised groups are:
- Girls affected by climate change related environmental disasters, resulting in unsafe migration
- Girls housed in care and protection homes
- Girls within the category of street children
- Girls within child labour including forced and bonded labour
- Girls affected by violence
- Girl victims/survivors of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation lets write survivors instead of victims
As a formative part of the Plan For Every Child campaign, Plan India will be reaching out to its local partners who work with the youth and involve them in shaping the discussions and deliberations at all levels. The aim is to understand the youth’s perspective towards bringing about gender positive and gender transformative changes as effort and progress is made towards Sustainable Development Goals. The aim is also to seek and give a platform to ‘out of the box’ solutions.
Five state and regional debatathons have been planned around India. These debatathons will bring young voices from colleges, universities and communities, to discuss, deliberate and debate on issues which they will prioritise for their states.
The debatathons will be held in Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Bihar and Delhi. The Youth Charters developed in these debatathons will be shared at the National Conference, where the winners of the regional debatathons will come together to share their views and debate solutions at the grand finale on November 2, 2017 in New Delhi.
Youth Charter Downloads
Youth Debatathons in the News
The National Conference on Children in Difficult Circumstances was held from November 23-25, 2016 at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.
The conference provided a unique opportunity to child rights organisations,development practitioners, researchers and policy makers from across India and elsewhere to deliberate on issues relating to the numerous problems faced by children, and the commitments via practices, programmes, policies and investment required to address these.
As part of the conference, five plenary sessions were conducted on policy perspective on Children in Difficult Circumstances (CIDC), role and responsibility of the Government, law enforcement and judiciary, civil society, corporates and media, regional action plans and inputs for the National Declaration and tracking changes and making the needle move on CIDC. There were also concurrent sessions held on street and working children, children affected by HIV/AIDS, child trafficking and marriage and children affected by drugs and substance abuse.
The conference brought together more than 300 organisations, experts, policymakers, judiciary, media and other development practitioners. Among the many esteemed speakers were Preeti Sudan, Special Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India; Stuti Narain Kacker, Chairperson, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights; Honourable Justice Madan B. Lokur, Supreme Court of India; Amitabh Rajan, Former Home Secretary, Maharashtra and Tanya Barron, CEO, Plan International UK.
The key outcome of the conference was a National Declaration that put forward the joint commitment of Plan India and other stakeholders to work together more effectively to provide a nurturing environment for every child in India, based on the principles of non-discrimination, development and the best interest of the child.