Children in Chhattisgarh

The State is home to particularly vulnerable tribal groups

A girl child plays at Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre in Orchha, Narayanpur, Chattisgarh.
UNICEF/UN0272556/Qadri

The challenge

The state is home to particularly vulnerable tribal groups and the exposure to conflict exacerbates already existing vulnerabilities and inequalities.

Chhattisgarh is one of the newest states in India. It is a resource and mineral rich state, that is one of the fastest-developing in India. The State is a source of electricity and steel, accounting for 15 per cent of the total steel produced. Chhattisgarh has a population of about 26 million, more than three-quarters of which live in rural and remote areas. Many of Chhattisgarh’s most disadvantaged people live in hard-to-reach terrains.

Chhattisgarh is home to a population of diverse ethnic, social, religious and linguistic backgrounds. More than one-third of the State’s residents officially belong to Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes. About 31 per cent belong to more than 43 tribes, including particularly vulnerable tribal groups.

About 41 per cent of the State’s population are children aged 0-18 years with 3.6 million children aged 0-6 years constituting 14 per cent of the total population. The seven districts of Bastar Region (which has a considerably volatile socio-political environment) account for 12 per cent of the total 0-6 child population of Chhattisgarh.

Conflict exacerbates already existing vulnerabilities and inequalities, risking lives and livelihoods.

Children living in tribal communities in remote areas are particularly vulnerable.

Advancing children’s rights and well-being

To strengthen advocacy efforts and technical support for multi-sectoral and collaborative actions that address undernutrition and to roll out nutrition-specific interventions, especially for the state’s hard-to-reach and marginalized populations.

As part of the support to the Chhattisgarh State Government, UNICEF advocates and implements pilots for strengthening health systems, including human resources though partnerships. UNICEF partners with government departments, training institutes and medical colleges to improve training and on-site support systems for health workers though use of technology.

Part of our work together includes strengthening cold chain and supply chain systems through need-based expansion of cold chain points.

We support effective implementation of the Mothers’ Absolute Affection Programme to improve breastfeeding practices. The Programme focuses on providing mothers skilled counselling support, both in the community and in health facilities. Innovative social and behaviour change communication strategies are implemented to improve timely, age-appropriate, diverse and frequent complementary feeding.

UNICEF works to ensure operational health facilities in civil strife affected districts.

UNICEF supports improved access to health care facilities providing quality care providing quality care through the motorcycle ambulance in hard to reach terrains across Chhattisgarh.

We also use technology in education, using approaches such as ’Hamar School, Hamar Laikaman’, a community monitoring tool to track in real time student and teacher attendance. 

UNICEF continues to engage with civil society organizations such as RTE Watch to demonstrate improvements in attendance, retention and learning outcomes. Support is given to the State in strengthening teacher education institutions to improve teaching methods and learning outcomes.

In the area of sanitation, UNICEF also supports building capacities of government staff and community level actors, including Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) in planning toilet construction, ensuring sustainability and facilitating behaviour change within diverse communities.

UNICEF partners with civil society organizations to employ social and behaviour change communication strategies to address social norms that sanction open defecation. We work in partnership with the government, PRIs, local communities and families. Our work also facilitates community managed water supply systems using appropriate technology, and supports effective water, sanitation and hygiene interventions in schools and health facilities.

Strengthening systems that prevent family separation and institutionalization by promoting family and community care.

A tribal father plays with his baby at Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre in Orchha, Narayanpur, Chattisgarh.
UNICEF/UN0272549/Altaf Qadri
A tribal father plays with his baby at Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre in Orchha, Narayanpur, Chattisgarh.

UNICEF works closely with the State to support and streamline flagship programmes like the Integrated Child Protection Scheme. UNICEF advocates with the government to strengthen its child protection workforce. Advocacy also focuses on better governance and accountability through engagement with the judiciary, civil society and the State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights. The emphasis is on improving public finance mechanisms for the implementation of core child protection legislation.

Support is given to the Government to develop and strengthen mechanisms to address child marriage. UNICEF provides technical support to build the capacity of the police department in enforcing child protection laws.

UNICEF prioritizes community-based child protection mechanisms to address child recruitment by armed groups and child trafficking in tribal and conflict affected areas. We also work on comprehensive school safety programmes. 

UNICEF has been working in several areas of  early childhood development, focusing on health, nutrition, stimulation, education and protection. The Department of Women and Child Development has initiated the Sanskar Abhiyan Programme to strengthen centre-based early childhood education and UNICEF is supporting its roll-out by building capacities around early childhood care and education.