UNICEF India

UNICEF has been working in India since 1949 advocating for the rights of children and young people.

For more information, please visit: http://www.unicef.in, http://instagram.com/unicefindia
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Recently launched data on violence against children reveal:

-          21% of girls in India, 12 million (1), have been subjected to physical violence since age 15 

-          4.5%  of girls aged 15 to 19, 2.6 million, have suffered some form of sexual violence.

-          13% of girls aged 15 to 19 married or in union suffered from sexual violence (2)

We at UNICEF India invite you to join hands with us and take a step to #ENDviolence against children. This campaign aims at raising awareness about different forms of violence, including physical, emotional, sexual and child marriage.

Every child has the right to a happy childhood free of violence and we would like you to help us spread the message. We are largely bystanders, onlookers. We love passing the buck to others, “You should…”, “The Government should…”, “Society won’t…”, breaking away from social messages that transfer the onus of action to everyone out there, this campaign’s umbrella theme cut across the US and THEM divide and talk in first person.

I can #ENDviolence because #ItStartsWithMe

Ending violence against children is a challenging task as often they suffer in silence and many times adults turn a blind eye to the problem. It can only be ended by collective realization and empowerment. UNICEF believes that we all are catalysts of change within society and have an important role to play.

Kareena Kapoor, Virendra Sehwag, Priyanka Chopra, Rahul Bose, Madhuri Dixit Nene, Farhan Akhtar and Saina Nehwal have come on board and are supporting the cause. Watch the video: http://unicf.in/ItStartsWithMe-AllStars 

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What can you do to help?

1.      Talk, write, tweet or post to mobilize support: Spread the message amongst your readers to support the cause. Social Media pack is attached for your reference. #ENDviolence #ItStartsWithMe

2.      Spread the key messages on crucial campaign dates: Talk about the video Today, 26 September, and participate at the launch of the Baap Waali Baat song on 10 October, in the lead up to the Day of the Girl Child. Event to be organized in Delhi, more details to come shortly.

Some messages that you could share: 

Social Media Pack - Key influencers

I can #ENDviolence because #ItStartsWithMe

26-27 September

Facebook

Every day, violence is perpetrated on children - rich and poor, young and adolescent, girls and boys, urban and rural. It happens around us and there’s none to shatter the silence. Here are some prominent voices from Bollywood and the world of sports joining hands with UNICEF to break the silence and pledge support to #ENDviolence against children. Watch them chorus: #ItStartsWithMe!

http://unicf.in/ItStartsWithMe-AllStars 

Twitter

I pledge to break the silence for every child that suffers. I pledge to #ENDviolence. #ItStartsWithMe & these guys http://unicf.in/ItStartsWithMe-AllStars

@FarOutAkhtar @RahulBose1 @priyankachopra @MadhuriDixit @NSaina @virendersehwag & Kareena pledge #ENDviolence http://unicf.in/ItStartsWithMe-AllStars Do You? 

I can #ENDviolence because #ItStartsWithMe - Join the movement &help children live free of violence http://unicf.in/ItStartsWithMe-AllStars @UNICEFIndia 

Bollywood & sports join hands 2 break silence & #ENDviolence agnst children! They chorus #ItStartsWithMe http://unicf.in/ItStartsWithMe-AllStars @UNICEFIndia

Everyday violence s perpetrated on children rich &poor, young &adolescent, girls &boys, urb &rural #ENDviolence #ItStartsWithMe @UNICEFIndia

Instances of violence occur all around us, & only we can shatter the silence. Pledge support now! #ENDviolence #ItStartsWithMe @UNICEFIndia

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(1) This number was estimated on the basis of the Census 2011 population data. 

Today is International Day of Peace!

The Global Citizenship Education (GCE) aims to develop knowledge, skills, values and attitudes learners need for securing a world which is more just, peaceful, tolerant, inclusive, secure and sustainable (UNESCO 2014). The Open Working Group’s draft on the Sustainable Development Goals for the post-2015 development agenda emphasizes the importance of GCE.

The role of education in enabling young people to lead change in an increasingly global and interconnected world is crucial. India is poised to become the world’s youngest country over the next two decades (65% of the India’s population is under 35 years of age) in the context of denser and more expansive global links at the level of governments, civil societies, and businesses, and is seeing the rapid spread of information communication technology and enhanced access to education at all levels.

The Right to Learn must be inclusive of the right to learn skills which promote sustainability, human rights, gender equity, inclusive economies, human development, and build individual and collective responsibility for the present as well as the future. Global Citizenship Education seeks to build global cognitive and non-cognitive skills and competencies – leadership skills, critical thinking, multilingualism, inter-cultural understanding, disaster preparedness, conflict resolution, ecological awareness, and good environmental practices, among others.

To improve the quality of education, there is a grave need for adequately qualified and trained teachers. As a follow-up to RTE 2009, India has made tremendous progress on the teacher front. There are close to 7.72 million teachers in elementary schools of India (DISE 2013-14), out of which 4.6 million are in government schools (59.73%). However, approximately 20% of government teachers are considered to lack adequate professional qualifications, while many more lack the required skills, knowledge and attitudes to ensure effective learning. RTE pupil teacher ratio norms will require appointing over a million trained teachers.


41% children drop out of school before reaching Class 8 and the drop rate  is even higher  for children from Scheduled Castes (43%,) and Scheduled Tribes (55%).

Education is the great driver of social, economic and political progress. As people learn to read, count and reason critically, their prospects for health and prosperity expand exponentially. But the advances in education have not benefited everyone equally.

With the deadline of the Education For All goals approaching, 2014 is the year of a final push towards ensuring quality access and literacy. The Right to Education has been a key development and should be strengthened for widest reach.

Improving school implementation rates and learning outcomes by reducing gender and other social disparities, and improving the quality coverage of pre-school should be a priority.

#Education4All

There are an estimated 8.1 million children out of school and millions more who do not attend school regularly, the majority of these belong to disadvantaged groups. (Data: All India survey of out-of-school children of age 6-13 years, SRI-IMRB, 2010).

United Nations in India believe that this can be changed by:

-Addressing the issue of out-of-school children (OOSC) within #Education4All agenda to improve statistical information and analysis on out of school children and analyse the factors of exclusion and relevant policies.
-Inclusive and coordinated planning and implementation of RTE, especially for the most marginalised (Dalits, Tribals, children with disabilities, Girls, Minorities, Child Labour, children from areas affected by civil strife).
-Increasing access of adolescents to secondary education with a focus on reducing gender and social disparities.

-It is equally crucial to ensure that the most deprived and marginalised communities are themselves empowered to demand essential services.

It’s International Literacy Day Today!

Through the months of August and July, to mark this special occasion and start a discourse on the Right To Learn, art competitions were held in various schools that partnered with the United Nations in India. We are sharing some of the finalists here with you.

Do let us know what you think of them?

#Education4All

Stockholm, 3 September 2014 – Speakers at an event organized by UNICEF around World Water Week in Stockholm challenged the way international development partners and governments currently approach talking about open defecation and highlighted the role social media platforms can play in creating social norms, particularly in a world dominated by the power of connectivity.

People find talking about open defecation difficult and this is especially so in India where issues of caste, religion and generational norms prevail. For an issue that is too difficult for swathes of India’s population to even mention, the statistics are shocking. Just under half of India’s population - 595 million people do not use a toilet. The negative impact contributes to 61 million stunted children under five, needless deaths due to diarrheal disease; loss of privacy and dignity for women.

Sue Coates, Chief Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), UNICEF India opened the session. “If we want the 1 billion people without access to a toilet to change their behaviour, we need at least another 2 billion people to be talking about an issue that impacts all of us,” she stated.

Rose George, journalist and author of The Big Necessity, who moderated the discussion said that sanitation is a human right, an issue that cannot be ignored anymore. “We all are part of the problem and, thus, cannot turn a blind eye to it. Unless we talk openly about crap, the stigma will continue and children will continue to die from something as easily preventable as diarrhoea. This cause needs more champions to talk shit,” she said while praising the role of communication and social media platforms to promote societal and individual change.

And this is exactly what the Global Poverty Project is doing: growing the number and effectiveness of global citizens to achieve the public, business and political commitment and action to end extreme poverty. “When individuals take meaningful action, we can change the policies and practices that contribute to prevent people from access services. We are sure that the lack of access to sanitation will not be ended by charities, businesses or governments working alone. As citizens, we have a role to play. We have to raise our voices and trigger the change we want to see in society,” explained Stephen Brown, UK Director at the Global Poverty Project and Global Citizen.

Communication and media campaigns for sanitation are not new, especially in countries where open defecation is a common practice. However, campaigns that only target those without a toilet do not necessarily bring the issue to the rest of society.

“It is time to think differently. To end open defecation we need radical ideas that contribute to challenge the status quo and turn sanitation into an aspiration. Imagine the power for change if those who have access to toilets, actually did stand up and take action,” pointed out Thorsten Kiefer, Founder and Executive Director of WASH United.

While understanding the potential of using social media, Eddy Perez, Lead Sanitation Specialist with the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) of the World Bank raised some concerns. “There are some risks and attitudinal bottlenecks associated with challenging business as usual, particularly when talking about a sensitive issue like sanitation. Will the use of social media help us to broader and exponentially expand dialogues on taboo topics such as defecating in the open? If we take for example the Take Poo to the Loo campaign, developed in India by UNICEF, I suspect that those defecating in the open, around half of the Indian population, do not have access to smart phones or computers, so they cannot be part of this dialogue. Therefore, if we only use digital media, wouldn’t be contributing to increase the gap? And also, how do we measure results?” he asked.

Linda Patterson, Program Officer in Global Policy and Advocacy at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Francesca Covey, Strategic Partnerships Manager at Facebook, Internet.org, also participated at the event and talked about the different communication initiatives implemented in their organizations.

At his closing remarks, Sanjay Wijesekera, Chief of WASH, UNICEF, agreed on the challenges ahead about using innovative ways to communicate around open defecation but highlighted that to achieve results we have to do things differently. “Last May, the United Nations Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson launched a pioneering campaign to drive progress on sanitation. For this to happen, we cannot continue doing business as usual,” he concluded. 

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do.  Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. 

For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org and www.unicef.org/india

About the Take Poo to the Loo campaign

In late 2013 UNICEF India launched Take Poo to the Loo - poo2loo.com - asking India’s youth to make a noise about open defecation. This was done via the power of communities on social media; where friends talk with and listen to trusted friends. Going beyond the limits of traditional public awareness campaigns, in to new virtual communities and networks and back again, poo2loo has made a stink in India and across the world. You can find more information here:

www.poo2loo.com

www.facebook.com/poo2loo

www.twitter.com/poo2loo

www.youtube.com/user/takepoo2loo 

For more information, please contact:

Maria Fernandez,  Communication Specialist,  UNICEF India

Tel: +91-995 817 6291, Email: mfernandez@unicef.org

People find talking about open defecation difficult and this is especially so in India where issues of caste, religion and generational norms prevail. For an issue that is too difficult for swathes of India’s population to even mention, the statistics are shocking. Just under half of India’s population - 595 million people do not use a toilet. The negative impact is horrendous: 61 million stunted children under five, needless deaths due to diarrheal disease; loss of privacy and dignity for women. But, imagine the power for change if the remaining population – some 500 million people, actually did stand up to make a stink.

This is why in late 2013, UNICEF launched poo2loo.com asking India’s youth to make a noise about open defecation. 
And now, we’re taking it to the World Water Week in Stockholm! :D 
Here UNICEF will be hosting an event that aims to make a stink about the way international development partners and governments currently approach talking about open defecation. We want to get people excited about the power of connectivity and social media platforms to help create a new social norm – “we all use a toilet”. We want to open minds to what is possible, dispel the risks and excite everyone to talk about open defecation.
Bollywood stars come together in London to support children’s education in India
LONDON, UK, 21 August 2014 - Bollywood actress and UNICEF India Goodwill Ambassador Sharmila Tagore and actress and UNICEF Celebrity Advocate, Kareena Kapoor Khan are pictured with former BBC war correspondent and UNICEF UK Ambassador, Martin Bell OBE, and UNICEF UK Deputy Executive Director, Anita Tiessen at The Ritz on Wednesday evening (20th August) for a dinner to support UNICEF’s education work for children in India.Speaking at the event, Sharmila Tagore, who is celebrating ten years as a UNICEF India Ambassador, said; “Over the last ten years, I’ve seen first-hand, the work UNICEF does to ensure that the rights of every child are realised. Education is one such right. It is the passport to life; without it children are less healthy, less skilled, have fewer choices and less hope for their future. Yet, sadly, access to education still remains a challenge, for millions of children in India. I am privileged to be associated with UNICEF and support their work to improve the lives of children in India.”UNICEF India Celebrity Advocate, Kareena Kapoor, urged guests to pledge their support for UNICEF, commenting; “I recently visited Rajasthan with UNICEF to see child friendly schools and to meet some of the girls and boys that are benefitting from these programmes. I was inspired to see spaces which are child friendly. These are places where children are full of joy when they interact with teachers, where children feel safe and secure and where interactive and creative tools are used to ensure that children are happy and learning.”Anita Tiessen, UNICEF UK Deputy Executive Director, said; “Sadly quality education still remains a challenge in India, particularly for girls – where the dropout rate at primary level is 41%. This is often because of attitudes towards the value in girls having an education or schools not having adequate and safe sanitation facilities. When girls drop out of school they become more vulnerable to child marriage, early and unsafe pregnancies, and it has a lasting impact on their future earning power.“By working with the Government and partners to roll out our education programmes in India, UNICEF can ensure more children, both boys and girls, are going to school, learning, and have a better chance of reaching their full potential.”For more information about UNICEF UK please visitwww.unicef.org.uk<http://www.unicef.org.uk>Image: © UNICEF / Bircan Tulga / 2014

Bollywood stars come together in London to support children’s education in India

LONDON, UK, 21 August 2014 - Bollywood actress and UNICEF India Goodwill Ambassador Sharmila Tagore and actress and UNICEF Celebrity Advocate, Kareena Kapoor Khan are pictured with former BBC war correspondent and UNICEF UK Ambassador, Martin Bell OBE, and UNICEF UK Deputy Executive Director, Anita Tiessen at The Ritz on Wednesday evening (20th August) for a dinner to support UNICEF’s education work for children in India.

Speaking at the event, Sharmila Tagore, who is celebrating ten years as a UNICEF India Ambassador, said; “Over the last ten years, I’ve seen first-hand, the work UNICEF does to ensure that the rights of every child are realised. Education is one such right. It is the passport to life; without it children are less healthy, less skilled, have fewer choices and less hope for their future. Yet, sadly, access to education still remains a challenge, for millions of children in India. I am privileged to be associated with UNICEF and support their work to improve the lives of children in India.”

UNICEF India Celebrity Advocate, Kareena Kapoor, urged guests to pledge their support for UNICEF, commenting; “I recently visited Rajasthan with UNICEF to see child friendly schools and to meet some of the girls and boys that are benefitting from these programmes. I was inspired to see spaces which are child friendly. These are places where children are full of joy when they interact with teachers, where children feel safe and secure and where interactive and creative tools are used to ensure that children are happy and learning.”

Anita Tiessen, UNICEF UK Deputy Executive Director, said; “Sadly quality education still remains a challenge in India, particularly for girls – where the dropout rate at primary level is 41%. This is often because of attitudes towards the value in girls having an education or schools not having adequate and safe sanitation facilities. When girls drop out of school they become more vulnerable to child marriage, early and unsafe pregnancies, and it has a lasting impact on their future earning power.

“By working with the Government and partners to roll out our education programmes in India, UNICEF can ensure more children, both boys and girls, are going to school, learning, and have a better chance of reaching their full potential.”

For more information about UNICEF UK please visitwww.unicef.org.uk<http://www.unicef.org.uk>

Image: © UNICEF / Bircan Tulga / 2014

In his Independence Day Speech Prime Minister Narendra Modi put emphasis on the importance of Sanitation - of #toilets4all, and the need to protect the dignity of women who have to defecate in the open. 

Women and girls face shame, a loss of personal dignity and safety risk if there is no toilet at home. They have to wait for the night to relieve themselves to avoid being seen by others.

With half of the country defecating in the open, building toilets is important but it is just part of the solution. More importantly, mindsets have to be changed. A cultural revolution is needed to put an end to a practice that has a horrendous impact in society, including the 61 million stunted children under five and the needless deaths due to diarrheal disease.

We all have a role to play in ending open defecation. This is not only about those who don’t have toilets… stop for a second and imagine the power for change if the remaining population, some 500 million people, actually stand up and raise their voice.

Together we can work towards a cleaner India!