A Critical Review of Child Workers in Nepal Concerned Centre (CWIN) and its Programmes for Vulnerable Children

Published: 2008 by Campaign for Development and Solidarity (FORUT)
Commissioned by:Campaign for Development and Solidarity (FORUT)
Carried out by:Dr. Meera Pillai, Consultant and Doctor of Education (India), Dr. Govind Subedi, Senior Lecturer, Central Department of Population Studies, Tribhuvan University (Nepal), Prabina Gopali, young woman from Kathmandu (Nepal)
Tags:Nepal, Social services


Child Workers in Nepal Concerned Centre (CWIN) is a non-governmental organisation that works with child labourers, street children and other children at risk. CWIN promotes the rights of children, particularly the rights of girl children at risk, through advocacy, awareness, and social mobilization. CWIN is the pioneering child rights organisation of Nepal. Started in Kathmandu by a group of students from Tribhuvan University who were concerned about the children in the country, CWIN has grown from an informal interest group into an organisation with a national and international presence, and a respected voice with an authority based on recognized skills and resources for realizing child rights in Nepal. It is at once an ally of the government in developing child-friendly policies and programmes, as well as one of its strongest critics whenever the rights of children are violated, and the state proves ineffectual in preventing such violations.

This evaluation was commissioned during the project period of 2004-2008, to review and assess the programmes by looking at all standard performance aspects, including efficiency, effectiveness, impact, relevance and sustainability, apart from issues like gender equity and social inclusion, conflict sensitivity, partnering, organisational learning, policy support measures, institutional capacity building, financial and economic viability, human resource management and socio cultural factors, technological factors, and environmental and ecological factors. The learnings from the evaluation seek to feed into the new partnership agreement between FORUT and CWIN.

A range of qualitative methodologies were used to gather data relevant to:
(a) A standard project follow up evaluation addressing the progress of the project and the results achieved; and
(b) Learning - to look at the partnership programmes with an intention to learn from past experience in order to improve their effectiveness.

The methodology used in the evaluation of CWIN was as indicated in the terms of reference, and was carried out over a period of three weeks. Initially project documents were shared by CWIN. This was followed by an on-site evaluation of ten days, followed by further document review. The methodologies were largely qualitative, and included:
- One on one interviews with key informants: the Secretary of the organisation, the Founder President of the organisation, who is now a member of the National Human Rights Commission, a board member who did not participate in the organisational capacity assessment, a representative of another major funding partner, Save the Children Norway, Representatives of partner NGOs, including Shakti Samuha, an organisation which was incubated by CWIN, AATWIN, the Alliance Against Trafficking in Women and Children, Research and Legal Aid and Consultancy Centre (LACC), and Resource Centre for Primary Heath Care (RECPHEC), a representative of the multilateral organisation, UNICEF, two senior government officials (of the ranks of Undersecretary and Joint Secretary) of the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare.
- Group interactive exercises with a large cross-section of the staff. The staff worked together to build a collaborative timeline of the organisation. On the one hand this served as a rapport building exercise by allowing the staff time to revisit the path taken by their organisation to reach its current position, on the other it allowed the evaluators to understand the critical events that had shaped the organisation's history and the important values and strategies that gave the organisation its unique culture.
- Project presentations, followed by group interviews of project staff. Staff associated with different projects made presentations related to the vision, objectives, history, and major achievements, and challenges of the project. This was followed by group interview of the project staff by the team for clarifications, challenges of assumptions, understanding constraints, etc.
- Extensive interviews with senior management, related to organisational capacity assessment. Detailed interviews were carried out with the senior management team, including several members of the board to understand historical, strategic and context-related issues, as well as to undertake a participatory assessment of organisational capacity.
- Focus group discussions with children and young people. Focus group discussions were held with several groups of children and young people, including residents of Balika, Hamra Sajha Thalo, the Self-Reliance Centre, as well as in field locations.
- Participatory exercises. The younger children at Balika used drawing as an entry point to talk about their impressions of Balika, and young people at the Self-Reliance Centre used skits to describe both their own empowerment, as well as the ways in which they used their empowerment to carry messages on various topics of social justice to the larger community.
- Field visits. Field visits were made to representative project areas in Kathmandu city and the valley. Given the paucity of time, it was not possible to schedule visits to the outlying districts. This was definitely a shortcoming of the evaluation. A future evaluation should schedule sufficient time to study the implementation of the project in the districts, in particular, issues of management efficiency and information flow.
- Sharing of findings. The evaluators shared the major findings from the evaluation on the last day of the evaluation.

Key findings:
CWIN is a strong and exemplary organisation, with an impressive array of activities, programmes and policy advocacy initiatives to protect the rights of vulnerable children in Nepal. Engaging with industry and government to tackle difficult issues related to children, including child labour, child sexual exploitation and children in conflicts situations, CWIN has become a national resource centre on such issues, and strategies to counter these for the community, the government and donor representatives.
Strong and effective leadership, dedicated and skilled staff and a willingness to walk the talk with respect to child participation and meaningful stakeholder involvement, buttressed by strong administrative and financial management systems, and the patience to build and nurture strategic alliances have all contributed to CWIN's successes. Stakeholders at every level expressed their satisfaction with CWIN's work and acknowledged its leadership role in promoting child rights in Nepal. A major challenge for CWIN will be to determine a suitable model to frame, plan for and channelise its growth over the next decade.

The summary of recommendations is as follows:
- CWIN should continue to serve as a laboratory/crucible for testing new and relevant models and strategies for supporting sub-groups of vulnerable children in Nepal.
- The organisation should review its current internal partnering responsibilities and rationalise them.
- The organisation should take the lead in improving mental health and psychological support facilities and environments for vulnerable children as there is a significant dearth of these.
- CWIN should use the historical opportunity to "build a new Nepal" to bring about a conducive policy environment to support vulnerable children and advocate for greater resource allocation to realise this, in all parts of Nepal.

The publication is only available in digital format.

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