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Importance of tracking wellbeing of women and children stressed at workshop on child-friendly panchayats

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child friendly panchayats  UNICEF  Madhya Pradesh



Senior Correspondent

BHOPAL: A state-level workshop was organized by the Madhya Pradesh Department of Panchayat and Rural Development and UNICEF to finalise the roadmap and indicators for women and child friendly gram panchayat in Madhya Pradesh.

Approximately 80 delegates from different government departments like Department of Women and Child, National Health Mission (NHM). School Education Department, Public Health Engineering (PHE) department, Labour department, State Rural Livelihood Mission (SRLM), Water Resources department (WRD), Tribal welfare department, Social justice department, MP State Policy and Planning Commission (MPSPPC) and Swatch Bharat Mission (SBM), nodal officers from 52 district panchayats and civil society organisations participated in the workshop held at Bhopal.

Kedar Singh, Director, Panchayat and Rural Development department, speaking at workshop reiterated that since all the schemes are implemented through the gram panchayats, therefore, it is important that to work at the grassroot levels.

He also stated that it is necessary to bring together the development issues and connect it with livelihoods of the people, whereever possible, at the panchayat level in order to bring about changes. He also talked on gender equality and suggested working through women groups on village developmental needs, which can then be taken up in the gram panchayat development plan (GPDP). He asked to ensure that no child remains without being educated in the state.

Margaret Gwada, Chief, UNICEF Madhya Pradesh, speaking at the workshop, said that indicators selected at Gram Panchayats level need to be aligned with the state priorities, national and SDG goals. She emphasized the importance of tracking the wellbeing of children and women when indicators are being developed. The indicators that are drafted need to be relevant to the context; simple and easy to track and report. She reiterated UNICEF commitment to partnering with the government of Madhya Pradesh in its efforts towards achieving the SDG goals.

Suresh Tomar, Joint Director, Women and Child Development Department spoke on gender issues needed to be considered at gram panchayat level to make the panchayats women and child friendly.  

Sunil Jaglan, ex-Sarpanch, Haryana, spoke about his own positive experiences in bringing about tremendous changes in his state by taking up issues at the grass root levels. The mindset of people should first change, he said. The feasibility of the intervention needs to be evaluated in the village, before starting any work.

He spoke about “Mann ki baat” - an initiative taken up by the Prime Minister of India, which can be a tool for bringing the Gram Panchayat level work to limelight. Overall, he reiterated that one should have big dreams and everything is possible if we put in efforts in the right direction.

Pooja Singh, social policy specialist, shared child friendly indicators while Devesh Mishra, Deputy Director shared panchayat development index that are to be developed.

Booklet on women and child-friendly indicators was released at the meet by dignitaries.