GUWAHATI, April 8 - The Adolescent and Children�s Network (ACRN), Assam � a network of NGOs and CBOs which will work towards advancing children�s agenda in the State � was launched in the city on Thursday.
The event also saw the release of �The Adolescents and Children�s Agenda in Assam� � a document prepared by children to put forward their recommendations before the State Government.
Runumi Gogoi, Chairperson, Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (ASCPCR), and Dr Tushar Rane, Chief, UNICEF Assam, attended the event.
The programme was organised by NESPYM and Snehalaya and supported by UNICEF Assam.
While providing a protective environment to children and adolescents is primarily the responsibility of governments, civil society can play a critical role in creating awareness and mobilising public opinion on key issues, and putting pressure on functionaries to deliver on children and adolescents.
Experts participating in the meet observed that as Assam has a vibrant civil society network active on various issues related to women and children, more can be done to bring different groups together on a common platform to highlight specific issues related to children.
Additionally, adolescent issues are normally ignored at advocacy and policy level discussions even though it is a significant age group where critical mental, physical and psychological changes are experienced by persons.
Adolescents and children together form over 40 per cent of the population in Assam. It is important, therefore, to bring their issues and concerns in the mainstream discourse. The network is the result of various intensive consultations between civil society organisations both at the State and district levels.
During the programme, representatives from ACRN highlighted the process for creation of the network and also highlighted select key priorities for the network for the next few months.
Runumi Gogoi, in her address, congratulated the young advocates on their recommendations to the State Government. She took note of the recommendations and assured that she would share the Adolescents and Children�s Agenda with relevant duty-bearers at the State and Central levels. She encouraged all to make Assam into a �child-friendly� State.
The Adolescent and Children�s Agenda articulates adolescents� demands to the government on a range of issues including education, health, water, sanitation and hygiene, protection and participation. The document was developed after extensive consultations with children and adolescents in different parts of the State.
Dr Tushar Rane, speaking at the event, commended civil society organisations for coming together at the important juncture. He said that the ACRN could play an important role in highlighting challenges and raising awareness on important issues through an active network in the State.