UNICEF Jharkhand in collaboration with the Department of Women and Child Development and Social Security and Department of School Education and Literacy and Development, today organized “Adolescent Summit: Educated and Protected” at Hotel Holiday Home in Ranchi. 

More than 100 participants both adolescent girls and boys and duty bearers participated in the workshop. Around 52 adolescent girls and boys, 50 facilitators and duty bearers like teachers from KGBVs, NYKS volunteers, CSOs, DEOs, DCPU officials, SJPU Nodal Officers, JSLPS, JCERT, JEPC, JSCPS participated in this programme. 

The adolescents and facilitators from KGBV, CSOs and NYKS who were a part of the ‘The Samvidhan Live! Be a Jagrik’ initiative of UNICEF and its partner, ComMutiny- The Youth Collective participated today.  In the summit, voices of adolescents and voices of duty bearers about the issues faced by them relating to education and protection and to hear their suggestive solutions was also discussed. Child Panellist Kriti Tirkey, Anuradha, Gulshan Kumar and Facilitators, Rani, Naresh and Aruna shared their experiences.Through this initiative UNICEF and its partner engaged with around 1800 adolescents and trained them on constitutional literacy focusing on rights and duties, child rights and gender awareness to help them to become change makers. ‘Jagrik’ is a wordplay for ‘Jagruk’ and ‘Nagrik’ meaning an awakened citizen.
 
 

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Mr. K. Ravi Kumar, IAS, Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy Development; Ms Rajeshwari B., Director ICPS Department of Women & Child Development and Social Security; Dr. Kaninika Mitra, Chief, UNICEF Jharkhand; Mr Kartik S. SP CID; Ms. Priti Srivastava Child Protection Specialist; Ms. Parul Sharma, Education Specialist, Ms. Astha Alang, Communication Specialist and Mr. Danish Khan, Social and Behaviour Change Specialist from UNICEF,Ms Preeti Mishra from JCERT, Officials of education department and WCD, Dr Syamala from CCR NUSRL were also present on this occasion.
 
Mr. K. Ravi Kumar, IAS, Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy Development, said, “Adolescents are growing up in a transforming world. Technology, migration, climate change among other factors is reshaping society. To keep up, adolescents must be able to seize opportunities and confront challenges. 

They need education and skills to become lifelong learners, to secure productive work, to make informed decisions and to positively engage in their communities. For this the Government of Jharkhand has schemes such as Mukhya Mantri Shiksha Prothsahan Yojana (MMSPY), Eklavya Prasikshan Yojana (EPY) and Guruji Student Credit Card Yojana (GSCCY), and Labour department's Mukhya Mantri Sarathi Yojana (MMSY).” 

Speaking on this occasion, Dr. Kaninika Mitra, Chief, UNICEF Jharkhand, said, “When adolescents contribute to social change, entire communities’ benefit. Participation in civic engagement improves children’s educational attainment and skills development including empowerment, leadership, and self-esteem – contributing to their overall well-being and prospects. 

They are directly affected by the decisions that are made regarding their education, health, and employment, but often excluded from the decision-making process. Adolescents have strong views on the policies and programmes that shape their lives and communities. They have the right to be heard, the right to engage with governments and businesses, and the right to influence matters that affect them.”

She further added, “UNICEF focuses on adolescent development and empowerment through engaging with adolescents, by supporting and working with state government, CSOs, PRIs, communities, families, adolescents to create a protective environment and help in continuing education. One of such initiative is the ‘Be a Jagrik’ journey to strengthen adolescent civic engagement and participation. 

The Jagrik toolkit, promotes constitutional literacy focusing on rights and duties, and gender awareness and helps them develop their potential to become the change makers.”

Ms Rajeshwari Director JSCPS, DWCD&SS emphasised on the importance of creating an enabling environment for the adolescents so that they can take decisions and able to take focused action for their development and empowerment. It important for the duty bearers to implement programs with sensitivity and implement child friendly procedures while dealing with cases of abuse.  

A lot of initiatives is being taken by the government but there is still for providing handholding support to children in difficult circumstances and in hard to reach areas. Parents support, awareness and sensitivity is also very important for development and empowerment of adolescents. 

Factors that lead to child trafficking, child labour and child marriage, child sexual abuses etc and pushes children out of education system and in further vulnerabilities needs to be urgently address through awareness generation, engaging with adolescents, parents and communities and proactive role of teachers, police, child protection functionaries.

Briefing about the Jagrik initiative, Ms. Priti Srivastava, Child Protection Specialist UNICEF, said, “UNICEF has partnered with CYC [ComMutiny- The Youth Collective] to roll out Jagrik program with CSOs in 2019. This initiative was scaled up with all KGBVs in collaboration with the Education department, NSSS and NYKS in selected districts in 2022. 

1800 adolescents were engaged in the Jagrik program through the Jharkhand youth collective. Seven capacity building workshops have been conducted in Ranchi so far with the teachers and facilitators from KGBV, NYKS and NSS and training provided them on ‘Jagrik’ toolkits. This toolkit creates opportunities for engagement with duty bearers, parents, teachers, community members and peer groups on challenging social norms - ending child marriage, superstitions, gender roles, exclusion, etc.”
 
Mr Abay Nandan Ambast, Joint Secretary, Department of Women and Child Development and Social Secu.rity highlighted the programmes, schemes and guidelines initiated by WCD department for adolescents especially from the marginalized communities. He said, “The Jharkhand Government has taken many initiatives to provide children a protective environment through different schemes and programmes. 

The Government has recently approved schemes such as Savitribai Phule Kishori Yojana through which a girl child after attaining 18 years will get Rs 40,000 from the government. This scheme aims at encouraging education of the girl child and curbing early marriages. 

He also spoke about Sponsorship scheme to ensure adolescents from economically backward families with annual income of less than 75,000 remain with their family and continue education and their other basic needs are met. 

Creating a safe environment for children and adolescents is very important. Be it at home, in school, in the playground, in community, or in institution; increasing awareness on laws, rights and duties, entitlements, service and schemes and in improving access to these provisions in a child sensitive manner is very critical for their empowerment.”

On this occasion, Mr. Karthik, SP, CID, shared the details about the programs run by CID to protect children from violence and preventing and reporting child marriage.

Ms. Alisha, Clinical Psychologist from CIP shared about importance of mental health and emotional wellbeing. She shared information on “Tele Manas Initiative” discussing about Tele counselling and emotional well-being support for adolescents and care givers.

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