We added Kolkata to StreetInvest's Global Network in 2012. Since that time, we have not only delivered training to support our partners but have also been able to help create a pool of local trainers in India to continue to build local capacity.
We have supported two original partners, Child in Need Institute (CINI) and Little Big Help (LBH) to strengthen and expand their Street Work. In 2017, we entered into our first Regional Coordinating Partnership (RCP) for Asia with CINI. CINI has been working with street-connected children on the platforms of Kolkata’s largest railway stations since 1989.
Our joint aim is to build a regional network of local Street Work partners and reduce the stigma, discrimination, and abuse that street-connected children face in Kolkata. Our support is framed in the Four Pillars of (1) Informing through data collection and research; (2) Influencing through advocacy and awareness raising; (3) Building the capacity of CINI and the network members through training and mentoring; and (4) Strengthening the sustainability of the network and CINI.
The first stage of the partnership concentrated on strengthening the underlying commitment to and capacity for Street Work in Kolkata, community engagement and network building.
Since 2016, CINI has held 220 workshops with 8,320 community stakeholders, including the police, TTE, community mothers and community leaders to challenge attitudes towards street-connected children.
CINI has been a constant champion of children’s participation. Over the past two years they have held 193 focus group discussions with a total 1,283 street-connected children. This resulted in the development of a Street Champions program which has empowered 147 local young street-connected children to advocate for and support their peers.
The network in Kolkata has now not only grown to include 20 local agencies but has engaged with the West Bengal Commission on the Protection of Child Rights (WBCPCR). After six years of joint work, we have reached a point where support for street-connected children is about to be trialed as a core part of an integrated child protection system in the city for the first time.
“The best part of the consultation was when the children spoke for themselves. We will look into the matters and work towards bring change.”
Spokesperson for the West Bengal Commission on the Protection of Child Rights. April 2018, Network Consultation