Minister of Federal Affairs and General Administration Lal Babu Pandit, declared the Kanchanrup Municipality as the first child-friendly municipality in Province 2, and the third child-friendly municipality in Nepal after federalism.
A child-friendly municipality embodies the spirit of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Nepal was one of the early signatories to in 1990. In the journey to becoming child friendly, the Municipality has taken critical steps to ensuring children’s rights are reflected in local policies, laws, programmes and budgets. Accordingly, children become active agents; their voices and opinions are being taken into consideration and they also influence decision-making processes within the community.
“We have declared our municipality child friendly and with this, I have felt increased responsibility for sustaining the rights of children. Until and unless we continue to invest and improve the indicators related to children, our municipality and our county will not prosper,” said Mr Basanta Kumar, Mayor of Kanchanrup Municipality. “We have put all our effort to achieve this and will continue to invest for overall growth and development of children in our municipality.”
The process of becoming a child-friendly municipality requires numerous key targets for children. Since 2015, the Kanchanrup Municipality has been allocating 15 per cent budget as part of the block grant for children. This helped to ensure that 100 per cent of children in the municipality go to school; that all schools have separate gender-friendly toilets; that all children are immunized, and that children are registered from birth. The Municipality has also drastically reduced child labour in hotels, transport sectors and in homes, and helped eliminate child marriage. Kanchanrup Municipality has ensured 100 per cent achievements in 31 out of 41 indicators. They have also achieved more than 90 per cent in the remaining indicators.
“UNICEF congratulates the citizens of Kanchanrup Municipality, including all the children and young people, who made this feat possible. Today is a milestone in the nation’s progress towards investing in children for a brighter and more peaceful future” said Ms. Elke Wisch. “As we celebrate 30 years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child this year, what better example of realization of child rights than this?”
Kanchanrup’s journey towards a child-friendly municipality began in the 90s when UNICEF Nepal, with support of partners like the Norwegian government and others, started working with women and children at the grassroots level, under the principles of decentralized planning. These experiences have informed the Child-Friendly Local Governance (CFLG) framework, which was adopted by the Government in 2011. UNICEF will continue to work with stakeholders at all levels of government and communities like Kanchanrup to achieve the vision of child-friendly Nepal.
“The dreams of children in the Kanchanrup Municipality has finally been realized,” said Rahul Ali, 16, President of Child Club at the Kanchanrup Municipality. “By declaring our municipality as a child-friendly municipality, we have ensured the rights of each and every child here. Children will feel safe and have the opportunity to study in a child-friendly environment. Our voices will be heard and we will continue to participate in the planning processes of the municipality for children.”
Rahul also added that being involved in the child clubs under the CFLG framework provided him and other children like him with an opportunity to enhance his capacities and skills.
“Today, I am able to speak confidently in front of thousands of people,” he said. “Each and every child in Nepal should have this opportunity.”