Plan India is committed to engaging children and young people in programming as part of its Child Centred Community Development (CCCD) approach. In India, children and youth participation in programmes is fostered within children and youth groups through routine meetings with local Community Based Organisations and duty bearers, and active representation in influencing initiatives at the village, block, district, state and national levels.
In alignment with the Global Youth Engagement Strategy and guidelines, Plan India established the National Youth Advisory Panel (NYAP) in June 2015 through a democratic process wherein the youth elected national representatives from each state. A total of 24 Youth Advisory Panel (YAP) representatives (12 boys and 12 girls) were elected from nine states.
Plan India proposed three key initiatives to strengthen YAPs at the national level in order to engage them in its programmes, influencing initiatives and involving them in internal decision making processes.
- Empowering NYAP members to engage in Plan India programmes and hone and promote their leadership skills and abilities
- Ensure availability of a democratic space for collective action by supporting them to form YAPs at the state level, led by NYAP representatives
- Create an enabling environment for youth to raise their voices and make their concerns, views and ideas heard within Plan India’s governing mechanism, as well as in their influencing initiatives viz. national conferences, dialogues and events on key issues at various levels
Difficult Dialogues 2016:
NYAP members were involved in the Difficult Dialogues 2016 conference where they performed a play on child marriage and raised questions to the expert panellists and thought leaders.
Difficult Dialogues 2017:
The 2017 conference focused on young health issues. YAP members along with other youth groups took part in the conference in which key policy makers, health professionals and corporates also participated, raising questions related to health issues and the state of (youth-friendly) health services in the country.
National Conference on Plan for Every Child:
NYAP representatives participated in the conference in the capacity of a media group, “Nai Awaaz” (New Voice), auditing all panel discussions and presenting their consolidated thoughts to all attendees on the last day of the conference in the form of a newsletter and PowerPoint presentation.
International Day of the Girl Child:
YAP members participated in the “Girls Takeover” campaign in three states. On October 11, 2016, 120 youth members (girls and boys) manned central traffic intersections in Delhi for two hours assisted by Delhi Traffic Police personnel, most of whom were women.
In Bihar, state level YAP members designed a campaign to increase community awareness and end child marriage in five locations. This helped influence local governance and Community Based Organisations who were mobilised to take a pledge on ending child marriage in their communities.
Dialogue with State Ministers (Bihar):
In Bihar, children and state level YAP representatives organised a campaign on ending child marriage in Patna. During a key event, the youth disseminated a pictorial book they had developed highlighting the issue of child marriage. Children and youth along with members of the District Child Welfare Committee, Juvenile Justice Board and District Child Protection Unit pledged to end child marriage in their home state through a signature campaign. Hon’ble Ministers of the Government of Bihar, Youth Affairs and Culture, Mr Shivchandra Ram and Mr Alok Mehta participated and lauded the efforts of Plan India YAP initiatives on ending child marriage in Bihar.
Youth-led research and study:
The Uttarakhand state level YAP conducted a study on drug abuse in their state and submitted their findings to the state government while organising a Bal Vidhan Sabha (Children and Young people Assembly at State level) and review of YAP.
Youth engagement in Plan India Impact Awards:
State and national level YAP members were involved in specific nomination committees at multiple levels and led the nomination validation process through social audits. They also represented the youth in the sub-jury committee at state level as well as the national jury to select the final award winners. One YAP member from Uttar Pradesh received the Youth Recognition Award.