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Wednesday Jun 7, 2023

Children’s Day 2022: Investing in young ones


Nepalnews
2022 Sep 14, 8:44, kathmandu

Children’s day in Nepal has an extensive history that spans over half a century. The first ever National Children’s Day was observed on 4th Bhadra, 2022 B.S., on the birth anniversary of the then Queen Ratna of Nepal. This date remained significant until the abolishment of the monarchy in 2063 B.S., after which the then Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare held a meeting with prominent child rights experts to redefine the occasion.

“When considering a new date for National Children’s Day, I wanted to not only preserve the trend of celebrating Children’s Day in Bhadra but also spotlight the commitment of our nation to child rights. Thus, in the meeting I proposed 29th Bhadra, the day Nepal ratified The United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child,” recalls Tarak Dhital, former Executive Director of Central Child Welfare Board. Since then, 29th Bhadra has been celebrated annually as National Children’s Day in Nepal.

Every year, Children’s Day is celebrated with a specific topic in mind and a unique slogan. The slogan for this year is ‘Foundation of Child-Friendly Society: Responsible Family, Accountable Government'. This slogan intends to promote respecting children, their rights, and their safety at the local level: family, community, and municipality.

It is common for parents, teachers, and adults, in general, to dismiss communication efforts made by children. Most social situations see a child’s opinion left unheard. In fact, children are usually not kept in mind at all during social events. It is quite rare to see special accessible seating for children at a party or a shorter table from which they can access food and drinks. These are some small but significant examples of social exclusion the slogan is trying to address this year. Families and communities need to treat children with respect and include them in communal activities, not only for their cognitive development but also for social development.

In addition, the theme of this Children’s day also brings light to establishing Child Friendly Local Governance (CFLG) across the country. Although the National Strategy for Child Friendly Local Governance was implemented in 2068 by the then Ministry of Local Development, it was not amended until 2078 despite the restructuring of the state by the Constitution of Nepal-2072. Now, with the release of CFLG Implementation Guidelines and Declaration Procedure by the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration, all 753 municipalities are expected to achieve the 51 indicators and be declared as CFLG by 2088. These indicators cover all four pillars of child rights: The right to Survival, the Right to Protection, the Right to Development, and the Right to Participation.


It is important this National Children’s Day to assess and evaluate the current progress with CFLG. The latest data (dated Chaitra 2078) from the CFLG forum indicates only 21 municipalities of the expected 60 this year have been declared child friendly. This amounts to only 2.8 percent of the end goal. With only 0.1 percent of the national budget for the fiscal year 2079-80 allocated to the Ministry of Women, Children, and Senior Citizens, a major reason for slow progress remains the lack of priority and investment in children. Even at the local level, infrastructure development is thought to be a better investment as it yields tangible results. However, it is essential to treat investment in children with equal priority for long-term prosperity and development. This is only possible when policymakers become more sensitive to child rights issues and implementors allocate appropriate resources for proper execution. While it is important to celebrate children and the progress the country has made, all concerned bodies must reflect on the shortcomings and look to expedite the end goal.

When asked about the significance of this year's Children’s Day, prominent child rights activist Madhu Dawadi states, “The slogan this year brings attention to important issues and a crucial final goal. But for real progress to be made, all concerned bodies and organizations must remember the slogan every day and act accordingly.”

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Children’s Day 2022 Investing in young ones Ministry of Women Children and Social Welfare ‘Foundation of Child-Friendly Society: Responsible Family Accountable Government' CFLG
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