Odisha News Insight

Humara Bachpan attends World Bank Programme

imageThe World Bank recognizes the importance of investing in children to alleviate poverty, yet many of its projects have significant, negative impacts on the lives of children. Instead of contributing to poverty reduction, these projects instead perpetuate the cycle of poverty by causing lifelong damage to the bodies and minds of the most vulnerable children.

The Bank Information Center (BiC) with its head office at Washington D.C, is part of a growing campaign to include child rights measures in the World Bank operational policies, known as safeguards, which are currently under review at the Bank. To ensure that the rightful voices of the children are heard, the BiC with support from Humara Bachpan Campaign (HBC) conducts a two day consultation at Hotel Crown in Bhubaneswar.

A congregation of 25 child leaders associated with the Humara Bachpan Campaign, from ten bastis (slums) of Bhubaneswar participated in the consultation in the presence of Margaret Federici, representative from the BiC, USA and Ms. Preeti Prada, National Head of the campaign. The event started with children from the slums to understand their basic rights that is levied to them through the UNCRC. They will be made to go through series of activities through game methods and case studies analysis to help them gauge at issues more profoundly that would enable them to voice their opinions and views.

The consultation is a pedestal to leverage the voices of the most vulnerable sections of the society; particularly the children whose lives face severe ramifications due the projects taken up by the World Bank. The main purpose of the consultation is to note the quintessential voices of the children and adolescent gain adequate prominence in the “Safeguard Review” process of the World Bank.

In order to alleviate the issues pertaining to the rights of the children; which gets adversely affected with the projects backed by the Bank; these safeguard reviews helps to see the deeper impacts it has on the sustainable development of a child.

Only two of the current safeguards mention children: the involuntary resettlement policy and the indigenous people policy. Both policies say that special attention should be paid to “vulnerable groups,” including women, children, and ethnic minorities. However, neither policy describes how to address impacts to children that are different from these other groups.
“The children are the mirror through which we can see how our future would look like. Usually many developmental projects funded by the World Bank often fail to see how these projects affect children.

The consultation would peer into these severe issues of neglecting children’s wants and the BiC would accordingly take up recommendations made during the two day consultation. These recommendations would backed by the BiC; who would urge the World Bank to emulate the said opinions pointed by the children.” Said Sradhanjali Sahoo, Eastern Region Co-ordinator of the Humara Bachpan Campaign.

“When a dam is constructed or a bridge is made, many people or residence of the locality have to be displaced. They are paid money to do so. But no one asks children to what facilities would be given to them at the displaced site. Access to schools, hospitals, market place must be secured.

The government should comply with these rules and so do the projects funded by the World Bank. These risks must be specified and sensitive to children’s needs and requirements.” Said Jasmin Nissa, a 14 year old Humara Bachpan child leader from Science Park basti.

After the consultation concludes recommendations would be duly assimilated and compiled to be hopefully reflected in the World Bank safeguard review process.

Leave a comment