is a community-based organisation that works with parents, schools and the government to combat all forms of child abuse including early marriage, trafficking, child labour and exploitation. GMSP funds Aangan’s peer network programme for girls across two urban slums in Mumbai, helping to identify and mentor girls who are at risk of, or suffer from, abuse and link them to child protection officials. GMSP supported Aangan’s child safety mobile app to collect local data from 19,000 families with 40,000 children.
community women volunteers trained to run 86 community child safety groups
from the most marginalised communities
Despite a law banning underage marriage, 27 per cent of girls in India are married before they turn 18. Poverty is a major driver, as marriage transfers the economic burden from the father to the husband. Poverty has also pushed children into the labour force. Families who fall into debt send their children to work to subsidise their income. According to UN figures, 10.1 million children aged between five and 14 are engaged in work.
With a lack of adequate child protection mechanisms, children continue to face abuse and exploitation. The situation is exacerbated by social norms, traditions and the specific practices of states and regions. Because there is little local information available on child vulnerability, policy makers rely on aggregated national data to formulate child protection policy. With more specific local data informing policy, child protection systems can become more targeted and effective.
Aangan’s approach is to train women volunteers in its PACT (Parents and Children Against Trafficking and Harm) child protection curriculum, providing them with the knowledge and technical skills to mobilise community leaders, families and government officials to work together to keep children safe. Because the drivers of child harm are specific to each area, Aangan has trained PACT women to gather data from each area using a live map tool, in order to share information and insights with local officials. This, in turn, can help officials better design relevant child protections systems.
PACT-trained women also help create peer networks for girls and boys, to discuss the issues that put them at risk of harm. Adolescents learn about their rights and get to talk about their fears and ambitions in a safe environment. The sessions provide the adolescents with the tools and skills to participate in community life safely.