The National Policy for Children (NPC) 2013 says, “Every child has the right to life, survival, development, education, protection and participation”. The National Plan of Action 2016 has identified it as key priority area – “Enable children to be actively involved in their own development and in all matters concerning and affecting them”.
SPAN Facilitates children’s participation in governance through numerous children’s councils (bal sabhas), children’s panchayats (bal panchayats), parliaments, assemblies, federations, which negotiate with the adult political and administrative agencies to get their entitlements.
Youth form an integral part of any society and are an essential part of the development process. India is a ‘young’ nation. As per Census of India 2001, the size of youth population in the country is 422.3 million, with 219 million males and 203 million females comprising of above 41 percent of the total Indian population. (Source: National Youth Policy, 2012)
Youth should be engaged in wide-ranging opportunities for constructive participation in the larger arena of community life and in political, social and development processes of the country. Young people should be assured that they are key constituent of the community and are equal stakeholders in its welfare.
Young people is part of the project team of SPAN (as researchers, fellows and co-ordinators and the project committee). Youth member becomes accountable in her/his neighbourhood while dealing with the issues/challenges those affect their life. In doing so they are gaining confidence to reach out to larger domain of their engagement and also their leadership is accepted in the constituency i,e the area and the issues they are engaged with. They are expected to be leading the constituency from the front and truly use the role in the representative democracy and in all democratic Institutions/processes.
SPAN capacitates youths of 5 districts of West Bengal through formation and strengthening of a total of 19 Youth Councils. Gradually the members of Youth Councils felt the need of creating a national level platform to raise their voice collective to claim their rights and Indian Youth Federation was emerged. The Federation is planning to strengthen their platform through formation and functioning of Youth Councils in 7 states of India working on the local issues linking universalisation of education and ecological rights.
Hence the youth members will become accountable assuming their rights with a sense of utmost responsibility, becomes an insider in the organization SPAN and also an externalist as partner, be accountable to readily undertake all such issues that SPAN envisages as the core in a particular area or within a particular group/community/society.