Children and Youth Organisation

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”.

Facilitate 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.

Participation must be genuine and not tokenistic or a fetish. It is essential to take a position that there is a need to educate children about democratic values through practices that enable them to be democrats. The democratic value should enable children to learn to acknowledge and respect diversity, value voices of dissent, follow democratic means to come up with socially just decisions.

Children have to understand that rights come with responsibilities.

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.

Youth are a heterogeneous group, and their life experiences, cultural background, education, gender, social group and economic status can be very different, depending on where they live. Understanding the dynamics of youth in every local context is therefore essential.

This follows the United Nations in defining ‘youth’ as persons of 15 to 24 years. This is helpful in capturing many of those who have finished schooling, are sexually active, and facing livelihoods/unemployment issues and the wider effects of structural poverty. However, it is necessary to go beyond the age dimension, and additionally focus on the transitional experiences of being young. This means acknowledging localised cultural understandings of childhood and adulthood.

Young people will be part of the project team (as researchers, fellows and co-ordinators and the project committee). Youth member will become accountable in her/his neighbourhood while dealing with the issues/challenges those affect their life. In doing so they will gain 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.

This may happen only when each youth member will join their organisation. They are also expected to be aware of the various opportunities and assistance that they are going to get in the course of their being in the organisation. Their organisation must have a clear plan whereby the youth accountability is checked while they participate fully in the democratic process. Along with the accountability check they should matter in the governance on the issues they are engaged with. 

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.