The state of Andhra Pradesh in many ways reflects the development crisis of the country at large. The agrarian distress and poor social indictors seemingly remain unaffected by the otherwise impressive growth vis-à-vis a growing IT industry and increasing private sector investments in power, road infrastructure and industry.
Though, Andhra Pradesh has emerged as the IT hub in the country and all round development is visible, the state still lags behind more developed states in southern India in terms of development of children.
The state has introduced several welfare measures in the past and these have contributed to reducing income poverty in rural areas .
UNICEF's has been actively involved in advocacy and partnerships in the state with focus on policy influencing; supporting participatory and convergent programming in the “integrated district”; accelerating children’s rights by increasing emphasis on child protection and addressing social exclusion issues and building political constituency for children’s issues by sensitizing the political representatives.
Social Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation
UNICEF focuses on addressing the information gaps both in terms of data and evidences as well as on critical policy engagements to improve the efficiency of governmental efforts to put the state on track vis a vis MDGs. Such an intervention is significant as there is no common framework for children at the state level and Children’s developmental issues are not integrated with poverty reduction and women’s empowerment initiatives.
The major challenge for Andhra Pradesh has been a stagnating IMR at 53/1000 Live Births (NFHS-3), with 70% contributed by Neonatal Mortality. Rural / urban disparities, inter district disparities and inequity in access to health care contribute largely to the stagnating rates.
Behaviour Change and Communication cell was established under the aegis of district administration, Medak, only second in India after Purulia district, where the district administration acknowledged the importance of BCC in meeting the developmental outcomes. The mandate of the cell is two fold:
Giving Girls a Chance -- Today and Tomorrow UNICEF with support from IKEA Social Initiative is implementing a child rights model in Andhra Pradesh that increases children’s, particularly girls, access to a rights-based and quality education.
Changing Children’s Destiny Community mobilisation efforts in rural Andhra Pradesh helps keep children away from work but in classrooms. UNICEF with support from IKEA Social Initiative is implementing a child rights programme in Andhra Pradesh.