Spatializing Children’s Rights: A Comparison of Two Case Studies from Urban India

This article presents a child rights-based, participatory and intergenerational assessment and planning methodology that empowers communities to collect, analyze, and act upon data summarizing the opinions and experiences of children, adolescents and parents to influence local development processes at different scales of change. The article critically reflects upon two case studies of this methodology as adapted in India by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) working within the informal settlements of Mumbai City, and by Shaishav, a child rights-based organization in Bhavnagar City. The unique methodology explicitly addresses the spatial and physical dimensions of children’s rights and enables the collection of comparable, scalable data. In Mumbai City, 1,876 participants across six communities and four schools gathered and analyzed data and identified priority needs. Shaishav initially gathered and analyzed data with 3,516 participants in 27 communities within Bhavnagar City, then scaled the methodology with another 3,000 participants across the state of Gujarat. Case study findings across both cities, drawn from participant observations, field notes and informal interviews, reveal the importance children, adolescents and their families place on both genders having opportunities for safe play places, as well as access to basic services such as safe and secure housing, toilets, water, and health care. The methodology engendered intergenerational empathy and action in communities, as well as change at larger geographic and institutional scales, although the impact of these efforts is not yet known.

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Title: Spatializing Children’s Rights: A Comparison of Two Case Studies from Urban India

Authors: Pamela Wridt, Sruthi Atmakur-Javdekar, Roger Hart

Publication Date: 2015

Publisher: Children, Youth and Environments