Child protection is a major concern in Nepal. Specifically, child labor and child marriage are rampant across all communities, geo-ecological zones, and religious/ethnic groups. More than 37.4% of children in the 5-17 age group are engaged in labor (Nepal Mutliple Indicator Cluster Survey 2014) — and a large majority of them work on their own family farms). 26.3% of children in the 10-18 years of age were married or in union (Central Bureau of Statistics, 2014). Nepal has the third-highest rate of child marriage in Asia, with 37 percent of girls marrying before age 18, and 10 percent before 15 (Human Rights Watch, 2017). Reliable statistics are hard to come by but it is estimated that thousands of girls are trafficked every year from rural parts of Nepal to urban centres in the country and India to work as commercial sex workers.
For GNI Nepal child protection is “all processes, measures, and mechanisms adopted or applied to protect children from all forms of violence, exploitation, abuses and provide them a favorable environment for their physical, mental, spiritual, moral, and social development”.
Protecting children from violence, exploitation, abuse, and neglect is GNI Nepal’s urgent priority and the Organization has adopted a right based approach – assisting duty bearers to deliver the rights – to child protection and raising awareness of the right holders. GNI Nepal’s Child Protection Program (CPP) is underpinned by the principles of non-discrimination, respect for the views of the child, zero tolerance of child exploitation and abuse, and provision of health-care and has the following objectives;
- To strengthen child protection mechanism at local level to protect children from all potential exploitations including physical and psychological violence/abuse
- To make children aware and capable of claiming their rights
The CCP primarily aims at strengthening local mechanisms such as village child protection committees (VCPC), school-based child clubs, and district level child protection mechanisms. For strengthening and ensuring strong child protection mechanism, technical assistance is provided to them and they are lobbied to implement existing national and international legal instruments, policies, programs, and plans.
GNI Nepal believes in strong government and people led systems for better child protection. The Organization fosters a strong partnership with the children (rights holders), community-based organizations (CBO), non-governmental organizations (NGO) and local units of government (duty bearers). Leveraging these strong collaborative ties GNI Nepal promotes child protection across 13 districts through activities under four programmatic components;
- Local System Strengthening,
- Capacity Development,
- Campaigning and Advocacy, and
- Case Management
Towards providing a safe environment to children and protecting them from all forms of abuse and exploitation, GNI Nepal works closely with the Government of Nepal and its local units.