Project Title: COVID 19 Preparedness and Response
Funding Agency: UNICEF
Project Period: June 2020 to January 2021
Target Areas: Province 2 (8 districts)
Province No. 2 is a province in the south eastern region of Nepal that was formed after the adoption of the Constitution of Nepal. It is Nepal's second most populous province, and smallest province by geographical area. It is surrounded by Province No. 1 to the east, Bagmati Pradesh to the north, and India to the south. It has an area of 9,661 km2 (3,730 sq. mi) with a population of 5,404,145 per the 2011 Census of Nepal, making it most densely populated province of Nepal. This province comprises of 8 districts namely Parsa, Bara, Rautahat, Sarlahi, Mahottari, Dhanusha, Siraha, and Saptari.
The COVID 19 outbreak (pandemic) increased the burden on vulnerable groups (women, girls and children) and poor families as they are staying in the lockdown situation, destroyed livelihoods which posed serious protection risk. Vulnerable families deployed various negative coping mechanisms to deal with the health emergency, including distress sales of assets, adult male become jobless and child labour increase. For vulnerable families, the loss of assets combined with loss of family protection, and desperation for alternate livelihoods has shown disastrous consequences for women, girls and children who are facing heightened risk of sexual and gender-based violence, child abuse, work extraction, unpaid work, child marriage, and child labour. These families and the girls and boys become easy targets. Children who have been separated from the families – either as a direct result of the flood, or because families feel they can no longer care for the children – are particularly vulnerable to exploitation.
In this COVID 19 outbreak and lockdown situation several cases of gender and protection have been reported from all districts and these cases are only tip of all cases. Focusing the situation, proposed intervention will help in child protection as well it will increase awareness in the community, strengthen the capacity of frontline workers, CBOs, stakeholders in the care and arrangement to address the issues till the situation become normal.
- 659 COVID-19 affected children were identified for profile development and emergency support provided as cash/kind to 180 children of 89 boys & 91 girls with a focus on Unaccompanied, Separated and Vulnerable. Also advocated with concerned local governments for birth certificate of 38 children of different districts as birth certificate is mandatory while providing support.
- Establishment and activation of 7 child protection clusters at Bara, Parsa, Rautahat, Dhanusha, Siraha, Saptari and Sarlahi.
- 225 COVID-19 affected, vulnerable children/families identified in close coordination of local authorities, ward members and stipend support of RS 4000 per month was provided for 5 months (total 20000) which helped them to fulfill their basic needs during difficult times and some also used as income generation by investing in small businesses.
- Provided training to 15 protection service providers on child protection in emergency (CPiE) that helped them to understand the project objectives, generate clear concept of child protection in emergency, case management and case story.
- Emergency support as cash/kind provided to 75 children/families working at brick kilns & parental income generation support to 80 families of 51 boys & 29 girls. Reached out to 53 brick kilns in 8 districts and 228 families, around 1141 persons provided with messages against child labors mostly family members of working children and brick kiln entrepreneurs.
- Radio message related to child protection jingle disseminated through radio supreme 88.7 MHZ in all districts of province 2 that benefitted 350000 by helping people to know what child protection is, how to address the issues of child protection and how to protect the children in emergency.
- In the initial phase of intervention, the entire districts of province two were in lockdown, which restricted program team movement and gathering at field level.
- Birth registration of children was tedious as regulatory bodies/authorities were not supportive.
- Unable to provide support due to absence of birth registration.
- Hard to convince parents and even children that children should stop working at brick kilns.
- Entrepreneurs minimally respect anti-child labor law and regulatory body/bodies are less effective to implement legal provisions.
- High mobility of brick kilns workers is a hindrance in tracking children at labor situation. It is seasonal as well (brick kilns are almost closed in summer/rainy season).
- Lack of skill among members of supported families for livelihood diversification.
- Sustainability of financial resources provided to supported families.
- More discussion and coordination with the local level needed to provide a birth registration certificate to the children who are at risk.
- There is a need to provide training to local elected bodies regarding child protection issues and their consequences.
- Need capacity building training to enhance the capacity of the working staff.
- Flexibility in program intervention is required to work in the emergency.
- Need of monthly meeting of project staffs and organization rather than virtual. meeting to ease in data management, reporting and capacitating staffs.
- Sustainability of the program in financial and programmatic way would be ensured if the time-period is lengthy.
- Along with financial support, skill development of supported families on alternative livelihood would be preferred.