Nepal has made tremendous achievements in child participation for last two decades. Practice has been increased on children’s consultation on the issues related to them. The participation of Nepali children in the international programmes too has been increased. There have been positive changes in community to look at the children’s participation in the society. However, there have yet been a lot to do institutionalize the active and meaningful child participation in the family, community as well as in the state mechanism.
There has been an immense role of the child club movement for these achievements in terms of child participation. In fact children’s clubs have been an important tool to accelerate the child participation movement.
Children’s clubs have emerged as an important new kind of institution in Nepal after ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 1990. According to Central Child Welfare Board(CCWB) there are more than 13,291 child clubs existence. There are more than 5,000 child clubs associated with the CONSORTIUM member organizations. It estimated that there are more than 3,00,000 children associated with these child clubs.
Part of the driving force behind this emergence has been the growing acknowledgement of children’s roles in society and the development processes. This has resulted in the formation of child gropes through, for example, child to child and non-formal education initiatives. Another stimulus to realize the principles and provisions of the convention on the rights of child which came to force in 1989, and was signed and ratified by Nepal in 1990.
Research conducted by save the children with over 140 child clubs in 1998/9 indicated that they appeared to be both an expression of, and a promise for the advancement of children’s rights and democracy. The findings provided valuable insights of these child clubs democratic processes, and the ways in which they have created relationship with adult institutions. The research emphasized in its recommendation that there should be a network in order to give a shape to the child club movement I Nepal. On the basis of this recommendation Consortium of Organizations Working for Child Participation(Consortium) was formally established in 2000 AD.
Consortium of Organizations Working for Child Participation (CONSORTIUM-Nepal) is a civil society network working in the area of Child Participation since two decades. It has been adopting different strategies to meet its ultimate goal in promoting child participation from family to state level in Nepal. Established in 2000 and formally registered to District Administrative Office, Kathmandu in 2013, CONSORTIUM-Nepal advocates for child participation in cultural, educational, economic and political dimensions of family and social life. Consortium-Nepal holds the mandate for i) Capacitating member organizations ii) Serving as a resource organization on child participation and iii) Influencing norms, values, policies and practices of the state agencies, stakeholders and social institutions At present, CONSORTIUM-Nepal has 69 member organizations in all seven provinces.
Development phase of Consortium
In the beginning, obviously Consortium was very much associated with the child club development because of its development through the child club study. However, in the course of time, there had been felt that the network approach should be widened up to child participation rather tan limiting only on child clubs. Conceptually there has been wide consensus that child clubs are the important means for child participation. From 2008 onwards, the name of the network has been changed as Consortium of Organizations Working for Child Participation (Consortium) rather than working for child clubs. In fact it was an important paradigm shift of the network from child club to child participation.