CHILDLINE - A Successful model of NGO-GO partnership
Through the last 15 years of incessant work pioneered by Trivandrum Don Bosco Veedu Society, in collaboration with CHILDLINE India Foundation, Government of India and other NGOs; CHILDLINE has transformed itself into a lifeline for children in Kerala with above 90% of reporting of child related issues to CHILDLINE. Effective interventions throughout the district of Trivandrum by the Society have created a child safety net across the district as can be seen in the overwhelming response and reporting of issues to CHILDLINE. On March 25, 2000, Don Bosco became the collaborative agency to run the first CHILDLINE service in Kerala. With the advocacy efforts of the society and other likeminded NGOs, presently the network has spread across Kerala.
In 1989, CHILDLINE founder Jeroo Billimoria worked closely with street children in Mumbai as a social worker. She gave the children her telephone number and told them to call if they needed any help, after which her phone did not stop ringing. That is when Jeroo realised that these children really needed someone to speak to, someone to assist them. The idea of a toll-free number emerged. She set up CHILDLINE INDIA - India's first and only child helpline.
CHILDLINE's approach was to have volunteers who answered the phone and who would go directly to the child in need. The volunteers kept a log of the calls. This log would then become very important data for the creation of child protection policies, thus placing the helplines at the centre of child protection policy.
CHILDLINE India Foundation (CIF) is currently the nodal agency of the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development acting as the parent organisation for setting up, managing and monitoring the CHILDLINE 1098 service all over the country. CIF is the sole agency/body responsible for establishing the CHILDLINE service in the cities/districts of the country, monitoring of service delivery and finance, training, research and documentation, creating awareness, advocacy as well as resource generation for the service.
CHILDLINE 1098 service is a 24 hour free emergency phone outreach service for children in need of care and protection. CIF undertakes replication of CHILDLINE, networking and facilitation, training, research and documentation, and Communications and Strategic Initiatives both at the national and international level.
This can be stated as one of the most successful model of NGO- GO partnership programme across the states of India. The very fact that the programme is of the Government, there is support and help from Government Departments to the NGOs and there is sanction especially when any party to child related issue is called for. This provides added advantage to the service oriented NGOs. If the programme is directly run by the Government it could never be so successful like many other programmes due to the functional difficulties and the absence of service mentality and accountability which is often difficult to elicit from Government run mechanisms and employees.
The four C’s that are held as principles by the CHILDLINE India foundation to ensure the rights and protection of a child are:-
- CONNECT through technology to reach the 'last mile'.
- CATALYSE systems through active advocacy.
- COLLABORATE through integrated efforts between children, the state, civil society, corporate, and community to build a child friendly social order.
- COMMUNICATE to make child protection everybody's priority.
In 2015, CHILDLINE Trivandrum has received over 70000 calls and we have provide direct interventions to over 1200 children and these numbers speak for themselves. Over the past few years, there is greater reporting and we were able to reach almost every child in need of care and protection within the district. CHILDLINE is indeed a lifeline for children across Kerala.