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The Country Programme, 2008-2012

Government of India – UNICEF Programme of Co-operation

Over the last five years, India has seen impressive economic growth as well as progress in terms of human development. The economy has gone from strength to strength, with growth rates as high as nine per cent in 2006-07, while the population below the poverty line has been gradually falling.

However, in its approach paper for the 11th Five Year Plan, the Government of India (GOI) recognises that even these remarkable growth rates are not fast or equitable enough to reach disadvantaged populations.

GOI has adopted National Development Targets which are in line with – and at times more ambitious than – the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

While the current rate of progress of a number of indicators is not sufficient to meet many of these targets, the government’s commitment to “inclusive growth” presents a unique opportunity to improve the lives of all Indian children.

UNICEF’s 2008-12 Country Programme seeks to complement government-led programmes to achieve these development goals, and is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other  international and regional commitments.

Key achievements of the UNICEF Country Programme (2003-2007)

The previous Country Programme focussed on the fulfilment of rights of all children and women, and the promotion of an enabling environment to ensure equity and to strengthen accountabilities towards children..

In collaboration with government schemes, key achievements over the last five years include

  • Increased household consumption of iodised salt; 
  • Provision of water supply and sanitation to 65 per cent of schools;
  • Mainstreaming of HIV/AIDS prevention education for adolescents in 75 per cent of all government schools;
  • Doubling in the coverage  in household sanitation ;
  • Improved school governance and child-friendly classroom environments;
  • Adoption of Integrated Management of Neonatal and Childhood Illnesses (IMNCI) as a key strategy for child health;

The Country Programme, 2008-2012

Goal and objectives

The overall goal of the 2008-2012 Country Programme is to advance the fulfilment of the rights of all women and children in India to survival, development, participation and protection by reducing social inequalities based on gender, caste, ethnicity or region.

UNICEF’s work is centred on children from neonatal stages to adolescence. There is also a special focus on social inclusion in all these programmes, keeping in mind the fact that the Eleventh-Five-Year Plan emphasises on ‘inclusive growth’ and recognises social exclusion and inequality as a constraint to the achievement of MDG goals.

UNICEF will work closely with government flagship schemes to strengthen their capacity to deliver quality services to all its citizens.


In addition to reducing infant mortality rates (IMR), the Reproductive and Child Health programme will also aim to reduce maternal mortality rates (MMR) from 301 to 100 per 100,000 live births. The main interventions will revolve around enhancing child survival and maternal care.

Key results include:

  • Reduction of IMR from 58 to 28 per 1,000 live births.
  • Reduction of MMR from 301 to 100 per 100,000 live births.

The Child Development and Nutrition programme will stress on the nutritional status of the mother along with the child. UNICEF will focus on providing technical know-how to enhance ICDS functioning and delivery by supporting training of the field-level workers on the one hand and by conducting a nationwide awareness campaign on the issue with the purpose of influencing policy. Anticipated results include:

  • Reduction in the level of malnutrition.
  • Significant reduction in micronutrient deficiencies.

Child Environment improving freshwater availability, its management, conservation and equitable allocation, as well as access to sanitation and adoption of critical hygiene practices.

Key results include:

  • Sustainable access to and use of safe water and basic sanitation services.

The Child Protection will seek to protect children from violence, exploitation and abuse. The programme will seek to create a protective environment for children through the improvement and expansion of services to children in need of care and protection and children in conflict with the law under the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, child labour laws and other related legislation.

Key results include:

  • Strengthened policies, budgets, laws, norms, guidelines and tracking systems on children in need of care and protection and children in conflict with the law.
  • Establishment of child protection units at the state level.

The Education programme will endeavour to fine-tune policies and strategies to increase the enrolment, retention, achievement and completion rates in elementary education.  In particular, the programme seeks to improve learning outcomes, completion rates and literacy levels amongst disadvantaged groups.

Key results include:

  • Increasing enrolment, retention, achievement and completion rates in elementary education.

The Children and AIDS Programme will seek to reduce vulnerabilities, slow down the rate of new infections and mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS among children 0-18 years old; in addition, the emphasis in the area of prevention will be on the most at risk and especially vulnerable  young people up to the age of 24.

Key results include:

  • Mainstreaming of HIV/AIDS prevention education into the curricula and teaching of all government secondary schools.
  • Provision of correct knowledge of HIV/AIDS and risk reduction to 70 million out-of-school adolescents and young people, at the state level.
  • Provisioning of comprehensive PPTCT services to 40 per cent of all HIV-positive pregnant women, appropriate care and treatment to all identified HIV-positive infants and adequate care and protection received by an increased proportion of children affected by HIV at the state level.
  • Delivery of targeted comprehensive HIV-prevention services to 90 per cent of at-risk adolescents and developing replicable models for HIV/AIDS prevention, care, support and treatment in the 17 integrated districts.

The Social Policy, Advocacy and Behaviour Change Communication programmes will focus on influencing national policies and schemes with respect to rights of children and women through advocacy, and on reaching families and communities on a number of inter-related behaviours and social/cultural norms that cut across programmes.

In view of the fact that almost 80 per cent of India is vulnerable of natural disasters, which cause extensive damage to lives and livelihoods every year, the Emergency Preparedness and Response programme will ensure the fulfilment of rights of children and women in humanitarian crises.

Geographic Focus

At a national level, UNICEF will work closely with the central government in ensuring that children’s rights are reflected and resourced in policies and programmes. In the disadvantaged states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, the emphasis will be on focusing resources in terms of programming, policy and advocacy.

In Assam, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, UNICEF will continue to support limited-scale programming balanced with advocacy and influencing policy to build on progress made in the social sector.

At a district level, UNICEF will continue to concentrate efforts on community empowerment, behaviour change, and programmatic interventions, innovations and convergence.


UNICEF will work in close partnership with other United Nations agencies as outlined in the United Nations Development Assistance Framework, the World Bank, bilateral partners such as the UK’s Department for International Development, the private sector, and international and national non-governmental organisations.





Country Programme in India

Overview of Progress of the Government of India – UNICEF County Programme 2003-2007 >>

For every child
Health, Education, Equality, Protection