UNICEF spearheaded an initiative called ‘Child Reporters reporting on Children’s issues’ to give a voice to the children in villages of north India.  Children write in a monthly newspaper about issues affecting them. The initiative seeks to encourage peer education and child advocacy among children.

Shivam Rajput from Nimsadia village of Madhya Pradesh’s Hoshangabad district writes about various shortcomings in his village. “We have a well in our village but no water. The well in the village has dried up and people have to travel a distance to get the water,” he writes. He adds that all people in the village are suffering due to shortage of water in the village. Most importantly, the child reporter adds, children are the biggest sufferers as they cannot go to school on time because they have to fetch water first and requested the government to get a handpump installed in his village.

Some of the reporting have led to changes. For example, children raised concern about proper implementation of the employment guarantee scheme and it lead to a debate in Gram Sabha. Though there are success stories, this initiative is not without limitations. The program is school-based which means, many children who are not able to go to school would not be literate to participate in this initiative. Hopefully, this will help encourage more children to participate and continue their education in schools.

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