The “Together for Protection” project conducted a coordination meeting on April 11, 2022, with Birendranagar municipality stakeholders of Surkhet district in Karnali Province. The objective of the meeting was to discuss coordination and collaboration mechanisms with local government stakeholders to improve child protection and anti-TIP responses at the local level. The coordination meeting with the local level representatives was conducted as a follow-up event to the consultative workshop on “Model child Rights and Protection Procedure” conducted in year one of the project. A total of 22 participants (9-female and 13-male) from Birendranagar municipality, participants from the NCRC, and project staff participated in the meeting.
The meeting started with project briefs and updates on events conducted to date in coordination with Birendranagar municipality. A representative from a local NGO working in the field of child protection underlined existing challenges due to the lack of CP structures and mechanisms at the local level. The municipality executive board member present mentioned that the Birenrendranagar municipality has formed ward-level child clubs in all municipality wards.
The NCRC’s provincial focal point for Karnali province highlighted the formation of child protection mechanisms such as the formation of Local Child Rights Committee, Child Fund, the appointment of a Child Welfare Officer, and the development of the Procedure on Child Rights and Protection at the local level. These local-level structures play a critical role in child protection at the municipality (local) level.
Participating in the meeting, the Executive Director of the NCRC, Mr. Milan Dharel, advised the municipality representatives to act according to the Act and policies related to children such as naming local level structures in line with policy documents. He further suggested that Birendranagar municipality enlist temporary protection centers in the municipality to facilitate referral of children in need of such services. He added that should the municipality offer appropriate space, a missing child tracing center (Police hotline104) could be started in the municipality soon. He underlined the need to prioritize joint monitoring of childcare homes in the municipality. The Deputy Mayor of the municipality confirmed that none of the childcare homes were listed by the Birendranagar municipality and that the need for this list was urgent. She also requested the NCRC’s support in terms of developing structures and mechanisms related to child care and child protection particularly in strategically important areas (provincial headquarter) and big cities such as Birendranagar.