Almost all of the programs, be it at school or in the community, are planned and organized by grownups. An adult trainer/facilitator/teacher takes charge of planning and organizing programs for children and others. Children take part in the programs only as a passive audience.
If children are conducting a program, adult community members do not participate or take such a program seriously. Patriarchy, cultural traditions and ageism are behind such a mindset. This mindset is deeply rooted, therefore not easy to change.
Like everywhere else in Nepal, it is rare to see children organizing or facilitating formal programs in Kailali District. To change this scenario, a local GNI Nepal supported CDP identified and selected a few children and started building their leadership capacity– to challenge the existing social-cultural traditions and prove that a child can be a trainer or facilitate a formal events. First, the CDP gave an orientation to the selected child club committee members. Health teachers of the respective schools also pitched in to help conduct the orientation.
Later on, CDP staff and the trainee child club members prepared a ‘School Sanitation Campaign’ plan. Tikapur CDP supported three committee members of Saraswati Child Club, Bangaun; Naya Bihani Child Club, Rajipur; and Srijanshil Child Club, Tikapur; for organizing a sanitation campaign.
These children demonstrated hand washing techniques and sensitized fellow students and the community members on proper sanitation practices. They conducted a sanitation program at Karnali Secondary School, Tikapur and Mukta Kamaiya Primary School, Bijaynagar. There were about 500 participants including school teachers and community members.
After gaining practical experience, most of the child club members have become very active in terms of leadership and are campaigning against social evils/malpractices, and for positive social change. Some of the trainees have become very good trainers, facilitators, and emcees.