Creating child friendly community

Child in Need Institute, with its human rights-based integrated approach of facilitation and service delivery, has directly impacted upon lives of people through its Education, Protection, Health and Nutrition services.

Published on August 29, 2020 at 2:42 am

Updated on January 26, 2021 at 06:38 am

CINI facilitator counselling a mother in Kolkata.


Driven by its mission of ensuring children and adolescents achieve their rights to health, nutrition, education and protection (HNEP) by making duty bearer and community responsive to their wellbeing, Child in Need Institute (CINI) has grown into a multisectoral organisation with a national and international repute by learning continuously from its community partnerships across deprived rural, urban and tribal settings. CINI is committed to strengthening government systems to ensure universal access to basic HNEP services. Its journey has also been shaped by a consistent interest in understanding and proactively responding to the evolving development challenges and opportunities at different levels. CINI undertakes roles on – implementation, capacity building, technical assistance, networking and advocacy, research, monitoring and documentation. CINI’s mission, core values and guiding principles continue to constitute the CINI Method – i.e. CINI’s development understanding and practice which is exemplified in the institutional Child-Friendly Communities (CFC) approach that shapes all sectoral and integrated implementation efforts. The annual budget of CINI for FY 2020-21 is INR 50.48 Crores (Approx.)

Target population & Geography

The primary target population is pregnant and lactating women, children and adolescents. CINI also reaches to families, service providers across Health, Nutrition, Education and Protection sectors and the representative of local government institutions. Through capacity building and technical assistance support, it reaches to NGO partners, government functionaries, local self-government functionaries, etc.

CINI is present in eight states of India, reaching through direct interventions in four states viz. West Bengal, Jharkhand, Assam and Odisha and indirectly in other states of India covering around 7 million population in 97 districts, 951 rural blocks and 271 urban municipal wards in India.

Dr Samir Chaudhuri, Secretary and Founder, Child in Need Institute (CINI), with children.

ImpactCINI with its human rights-based integrated approach of facilitation and service delivery, directly impacted upon lives of people through its Education, Protection, Health and Nutrition services. During 2018-19, 53,812 children were protected from all forms of abuse, exploitation and violence. Through the flagship “1000 days” programme on “safe motherhood, child survival” reached out to 4,35,000 under-2 years children and 95,000 pregnant and lactating women. Through Adolescent Empowerment programmes reached to 10 lakh adolescents and 561 school drop-outs were enrolled back to school. Through Education programme, 10,434 children have been provided with remedial education support with 100% retention in school.

SDGs covered

The CINI Method – together with its CFC component – is linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030, which are themselves embedded in a human rights framework. Across the wide SDG agenda, it seeks to contribute, in particular, to the achievement of child-related goals in the areas of health, nutrition, education and protection (EPHN). The health and nutrition agenda was interwoven across multiple SDGs and related targets that CINI addresses through its different programmes covering SDG goals: 1 to 6 and 10, 11 and 16.

Implementation & Sustainability

CINI with its core values and guiding principles implements its projects or programmes directly following the CINI-Method i.e. CINI’s development understanding and practice. Within the implementation role, CINI establishes the institutional Child-Friendly Communities (CFC) approach that shapes all sectoral and integrated implementation efforts. CINI believes in strengthening partnerships between children, their parents and communities, service providers and local self-government bodies (urban and rural) for implementation across Education, Protection, Health and Nutrition sectors. CINI prioritised on system strengthening to capacitate the service providers to render quality services. It also strengthens the community-level monitoring committees like Village Level Child Protection Committees [VLCPC] under the ICPS programme, Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Committee [VHSNC] under NHM, etc. to ensure effective community-based planning, implementation and monitoring. CINI also works through the network of different NGOs and government organisations and promote evidence-based documentation from field implementation for policy advocacy and scaling up through the government system and structure.

CINI’s programmes and innovations are recognised by the government and other organisations and have been published through different platforms. FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University published the report “Before, Not After: An Evaluation of CINI’s Preventative Approach to Child Protection in India,” on 13th January 2020 in their website https://fxb.harvard.edu/. CINI’s adolescent empowerment programme model has been recognised by the Government of India in 2016 and has been awarded as best practice innovative model that could be replicated through the public health system in India – https://nhm.gov.in/images/pdf/in-focus/Kerala/Day-1/Inaugural_Session/Coffeetable_Book.pdf.

Counselling of parents by government front-line workers and CINI facilitator in South 24 Parganas.

The projects developed are well-designed with a concrete sustainability plan following “The CINI Method” of implementation where both the system strengthening and community empowerment are given equal importance. In the system, strengthening the service providers are capacitated to render quality services with support from PRI/urban local bodies and community-level platforms – V/WLCPC, VHSNC, whereas the community people including children, adolescents and women’s collectives are sensitised on their rights and entitlements. At the project end, the community becomes well-equipped to own the programme with quality services ensured by the providers and thus, the project merges into the on-going public service programme.

Challenge & Mitigation Strategy

A major challenge is securing regular grants from donors for long-term projects. Government grants are sanctioned but not paid on time. With the current economic crisis, foreign funds are becoming difficult to access. Retention of skilled professional staff is also a concern.

To combat these, the projects are developed for maximum 3-5 years now with a well-designed phase-out strategy. System Strengthening is given much priority where the service providers are capacitated enough and the community can own the programme at the project-end. To address the staff-retention, CINI developed its employee-friendly policies and provide exposures of in-service training, workshops, etc.

Technological Innovation

CINI implemented “GPower” project in Murshidabad and South 24 Parganas, West Bengal. With the support partner Accenture Technology Lab, a digital technology was used that captured information of girls considered to be most vulnerable, tracked and necessary steps were taken. The project covered 3,296 adolescent girls in 2018-19 and prevented 87 child marriages and did 26 drop-out girls’ re-admission. A total of 70 girls were enrolled in the state-run Kanyashree scheme for girls’ education and prevent early marriage. The innovation received ‘Mobile for Good’ Award from Vodafone Foundation in 2016. This effective technology can further be replicated using smartphones and specific software.

The way forward

CINI continues to use its established strategy of CFC, adding value to ongoing government programmes, as a facilitator rather than a direct service provider to avoid duplication. Following its “look east” policy, CINI makes inroads to the North-East India that offers CINI an immense opportunity to adding value to ongoing government programmes. Malnutrition although is reduced, but still rampant in the form of stunting and obesity, especially in urban areas, leading to non-communicable diseases (NCD) – where CINI feels extremely urgent to intervene. CINI’s adolescent programmes converging nutrition, health, education and protection issues simultaneously are also a priority in future.

CINI 1000 Days programme brings smile to a mother and her child.

Flagship project: Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition

Over the last 46 years, CINI has experienced that household and community-level health and nutrition education is a powerful means to prevent illness. By working with adolescents, children and mothers to improve their health and nutrition status, CINI was able to develop its own “Theory of Change” aimed to promote a continuum of care model. CINI has crystalised its learning to address intergeneration cycle of malnutrition, issues of sexual reproductive health & rights and communicable diseases by strategic engagement with the family, community, service providers and elected representatives, thereby creating a local-level accountability framework to promote the rights of children, adolescents and women.

The care during the first 1,000 days of life (from conception till the second birthday of her child) is most important to ensure “safe motherhood and child survival”. During this period, both the mother and the child get appropriate essential health and nutrition care to be healthy. CINI has been relentlessly putting efforts to break the vicious cycle of malnutrition through its community-based integrated approaches for safe motherhood and child survival.

Major Highlights of 1000 Days programme in 2018-2019:

  • CINI is the State Training Centre for the ASHA training and Anganwadi Training in West Bengal
  • • In concurrence with NHM, services are strengthened in 12 UPHCs in Kolkata for hard-to-reach urban populace. In 144 wards of Kolkata, 7166 street-connected children were linked with routine immunisation initiatives.
  • Joint training of Health and ICDS functionaries was conducted on the new Mother and Child Protection Card in the urban areas of Kolkata.
  • With the initiative of State Rural Livelihoods Mission (Anandadhara), Govt. of West Bengal, 250 SHG representatives were trained on 6 modules of maternal and child health & nutrition who in turn reached to 480 SHGs in two blocks of Bankura district, West Bengal.
  • 8,000 pregnant women were followed up for pregnancy weight gain and anaemia reduction in 3 districts of West Bengal as part of community-based care and management of maternal malnutrition.
  • Technical support was provided to the Department of Women & Child Development and Mission Shakti, Govt. Odisha to improve Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices during the first two years of life in four high burden districts of Odisha. 10,219 Anganwadi workers and 7,017 ASHAs were trained on IYCF practices to reach out to 4,35,000 under-2 children and 95,000 pregnant and lactating women in 10,689 AWCs.
  • CINI also played the role of a Technical Resource Agency to DWCD and MS, Govt. of Odisha for the establishment of a State Training Cell, building up a Trainers’ Resource Pool & Piloting Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-based Capacity Building of AWWs.
  • In concurrence with the initiatives of Poshan Abhiyan, CINI Jharkhand unit developed a convergent plan with DWCD and conducted training of 259 Poshan Sakhis in Chhatra district of Jharkhand
  • Technical support was provided to Govt. of Jharkhand to strengthen the interventions of first 1,000 days of care in 4 districts of Jharkhand.



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