Joining hands for the children of Nepal
By Rupa Joshi
"Our two agencies work for the same cause, in the same country, guided by the same underlying principles of the CRC, so I think this union of two agencies that are working for the best interest of children in Nepal is something that was long overdue," said Ms. Gillian Mellsop, UNICEF Representative in Nepal, after signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between UNICEF and Save the Children.
The two agencies signed the MoU amidst a quiet function attended by staff of the two agencies in Kathmandu on 27th April 2010 and thus committed to work more closely together on programmes and projects of mutual interest.
"This MoU formalises a relationship between our two agencies that has been steadily growing over the decades," said Mr. Brian Hunter, Country Director of Save the Children and the co-signatory of the MoU. "Our signatures on the MoU symbolize the renewed commitment of UNICEF in Nepal and Save the Children to work together to further our mutual goals of promoting the realization of the rights of children in Nepal with an extra dose of coordination and collaboration."
It means that we should look critically at the complementarity of our programmes, be committed to be more open and collaborative and not be limited by purely institutional priorities. To think collectively, and to find that right balance between our overlapping individual and joint identities and mandates, will be the major challenge ahead of us!
The three year agreement signed by Save the Children and UNICEF will conduct joint advocacy initiatives and campaigns to promote and defend children’s rights and increase collaboration during emergencies. The agencies, guided by the CRC and in close cooperation with the Government of Nepal, will undertake initiatives to help strengthen the capacity of government networks and civil society to promote, fulfill, defend, and monitor the rights of children in Nepal. The partnership will seek to create spaces and opportunities to strengthen children’s rights to participation in an appropriate manner. Similarly, they will focus on sharing information and experiences that will lead to the development and implementation of tested and effective actions to benefit children.
"We shall ensure that the coordination is not restricted to our Kathmandu head offices but will also flourish at the district and regional levels,” said Mr. Hunter. “We firmly believe that it is our cooperation at the grassroots level that will in fact provide the nourishment to make this cooperation between our two agencies thrive and grow. The national coordination committee in Kathmandu and sub-national coordinating committees that we will soon establish will help to keep us on our toes in this regard."
UNICEF, which celebrated four decades of partnership in Nepal in 2009 and Save the Children, which has been working for the rights of children in Nepal for nearly three decades, have already been working together to save newborn lives, helping to restore normalcy in the lives of conflict impacted children, promoting peace through child clubs, or preventing the disastrous impact of HIV & AIDS.
"Our two agencies have shown over these past years that it makes sense to work together," affirmed Ms. Mellsop. "This agreement is a commitment to these common goals and finding new and more effective ways of working together. By capitalising on our comparative advantages we save resources, avoid duplication, and forgo the need to reinvent the wheel."