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Volunteer-Local animators to take charge of Children Parliament

By Mr Job
Hyderabad, Nov. 7. Bosco Seva Kendra (BSK), the Development Office of the Salesian Province of Hyderabad has to date, established 250 children's parliaments in four districts of Andhra Pradesh. The dream is that by 2012 they are totally independent. The project staff has been thinking of different options for the sustainability of the Parliaments they have established. Now they have finalized on a plan to sustain the Children's parliaments beyond the project period. The plan is to select and train volunteers and local animators.
Often admirable development projects are executed by the NGOs. The problem with the project concept is that it is time bound and once the project ends the staff withdraws from the area; no one takes forward the activities and the changes brought by the project often die a slow death. The situation retreats to the pre-project status. In other words sustainability is a major drawback of the projects.

Bosco Seva Kendra (BSK) is studying the sustainability of one its current projects called the ''Children's Parliaments''. The project is based on ''Children's Right to participation'' enshrined in the UN convention and ratified by India.

It trains children to participate in the development of the village, particularly the children of the neighborhood where they live.  The little successes they achieve in improving the village as children make them grow into participating, responsible citizens. They grow into citizens who will participate in the 'Nation Building Project'. This strengthens our democracy. Participation is the core of democracy.  

A local animator is a person who lives in the same neighborhood as the members of the Children's Parliament, is child friendly and has developed a consistent appreciation for the Children's Parliament and its activities. He/she is willing to spend an hour a week for animating the children's parliament meeting. He/she expects no remuneration for this activity, but does it for the love of the village and its children. The Children's parliaments developed during the project will be handed over to the local animator at the end of the project.  

Our staff selected 46 (36 male and 10 female) ''local animators''. A training was organized for these 46 local animators on 25th and 26th October 2010 at BIRD, Guntur. The result was very encouraging. The volunteers, local animators declared that they had great appreciation for the activities of the children's parliament. They wanted the Children's parliaments to continue beyond the project period as a permanent feature of their village. They would willingly devote one hour of their time to assist the weekly meetings of the Children's parliament.  They would support the implementation of the resolutions passed in the meetings. They would do this voluntarily and expected no remuneration. ''We do this for our village'' they said. They requested BSK to establish more children's parliaments in their villages.

During the training they saw the film ''Johny Bosco'' and were impressed with the life of Don Bosco. We now intend to train local animators for the 250 children's parliaments currently being implemented in the BSK project.
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