About us

UNICEF in India

Where we work

Millennium Development Goals

Careers at UNICEF

Contact us

 

Assam



Tucked away in the northeastern region of India, the state of Assam is most famous for its lush tea plantations. The tea industry supports about one fifth of the state’s 31million inhabitants. The state is home to four and a half million infants and young children.

About one third of families in Assam live below the poverty line and the state has a high rate of infant and maternal deaths. Assam has had a history of civil strife but is gradually emerging from this as development is becoming a priority. 

UNICEF works closely with the State Government, civil society, media and communities, including children and young people, to ensure children’s rights and wellbeing.

UNICEF supports efforts to encourage women to breastfeed their babies and give healthy meals to older children. Health workers are learning to better manage pregnancies and deliveries and assist in effectively handling neonatal and childhood illnesses. Special efforts are being made to reach out to those who are most isolated and excluded, particularly communities on the vast Brahmaputra River and families working in tea plantations.

To improve education standards in the state, UNICEF is supporting teacher training and working towards making schools child friendly. Providing better access to clean drinking water and sanitation through the promotion of sanitary toilets and water security is another key area of UNICEF’s work.

Challenges and Opportunities

Across Assam, families and children regularly face uncertainty on account of natural disasters. Along with flooding and landslides, they are vulnerable to cyclones and earthquakes. Assam lies in a region which is one of the six most seismically active in the world and has recorded two of the largest earthquakes in India’s recent history.

Key challenges and opportunities:

•  The state has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in India. Far too few women get regular antenatal check-ups and  a large number of them are anaemic
•  A significant percentage of infants do not live to see their first birthday.
•  Almost two fifth of children are not fully immunized against diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus and tuberculosis.
•  Almost one third of children under three suffer from undernutrition.
•  A large number of young people, particularly girls, and women are anaemic.
• Families on tea plantations are particularly vulnerable. They have migrated from neighbouring states, and have often fallen through the cracks in the provision of health and education services. This is usually because many of them are casual labourers and so not protected by legislation. Many of them marry young.
• Children are eager students here, though many of them drop out to help support household chores or earnings. Although school attendance numbers are higher than the national average, the quality of education needs improvement. It has been difficult to attract properly trained teachers, especially to isolated communities.

UNICEF in Action

With emergency preparedness as a one of the priorities in flood and disaster-prone Assam, UNICEF is working to provide critical health, nutrition, water, sanitation and shelter support for use in the event of an emergency. Concurrently, communities are being taught search and rescue techniques and survival strategies.

Malnutrition and high child and maternal mortality rates are also priority areas for UNICEF programming in the state. UNICEF supports programmes that encourage early breastfeeding, improve access to childbirth assistance and extend services to isolated families on tea plantations and in riverine communities.

UNICEF initiatives include:

Child Survival

•  Helping to train health workers and midwives (auxiliary nurse-midwives, ANMs) to assist with care during pregnancy and for safe childbirth.
• Helping to create a Maternal Death Review data-tracking system to understand and prevent deaths of mothers in childbirth.
• Helping to encourage new mothers to exclusively breastfeed their newborns.
• Supporting programmes that improve and expand vaccination compliance.
• Supporting the roll-out of bi-annual vitamin A and deworming programmes for children.
• Supporting programmes in which health workers teach families to give oral rehydration salts and zinc tablets for childhood diarrhoea, and to recognize and promptly treat other common ailments.
• Improving health services for marginalized groups in remote, flood-prone riverine communities with the ‘AKHA Boat Clinic’ outreach programme, undertaken with NGO partnership.
• Strengthening medical care at tea garden hospitals.
• Supporting community mobilization for promotion and use of toilets and adoption of healthy habits and hygiene behaviour.

Education

• Working closely with the State Government to support implementation and raise awareness of the Right to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act 2009.
• Assisting with teacher training and developing a plan for child- friendly schools, including sanitation and hygiene promotion.
• Raising awareness among teachers and parents on the harms of corporal punishment.
• Improving children’s access to schools on river islands and in tea plantations.

Child Protection

• Supporting the building of a ‘protective environment’ for children in Assam that addresses issues such as child labour, child marriage, trafficking and abuse, as well as the needs of children in conflict with the law. To do this, partnerships with the juvenile justice system, police, NGOs and communities are being developed.

• Supporting the development and implementation of state and district action plans against child trafficking and child marriage.

• Supporting adolescent girls in marginalized tea communities and villages to come together into collectives to discuss and take action on issues that concern them such as child marriage, child labour, birth registration, education and corporal punishment.

Children and AIDS

• Supporting the State Government in the prevention of HIV/AIDS, and in the care of and support to children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.

Child Participation

• Engaging closely with children and young people and supporting them to understand their issues, voice their concerns, and participate in development as agents of change.

• Supporting young reporters bring out a newsletter, called Mukta Akaash (Open Sky), participate in forums and carry out street plays, rallies, discussions and other activities to focus attention of duty bearers on their issues and rights.

Address for UNICEF Field Office for Assam

UNICEF Field Office for Assam
House No. 27, Basisthapur Bylane 3, Beltola Road
Guwahati 781028

Phone:  +91 0361 2235151
 +91 0361 2235153
Fax:  +91 0361 2235161
Email  guwahati@unicef.org

 

 

For every child
Health, Education, Equality, Protection
ADVANCE HUMANITY