19 Mar 2020 18:43 IST

IIM-A, UNICEF launch platform to create child-friendly city

The KMIC initiative aims to generate knowledge that will be an input to policy processes

Ward councillors of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) will now be better equipped with tools and techniques to create a child-friendly city. This is part an initiative by Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM-A) and UNICEF, formed in 2015. The Knowledge Management and Innovation for Change (KMIC), a repository of information on urban governance that focusses on developing a child-friendly city, goes live with a dedicated website created by IIM-A.

On the role of ward councillors working for children’s well-being in a city, Prof Ankur Sarin from IIM-A, said: “Our study finds that councillors are often the first point of political contact for the most disadvantaged, and are instrumental in realising the aspirations of the inhabitants. However, despite playing a critical role in the last-mile delivery of programmes, councillors have to rely primarily on informal knowledge and networks to fulfil their responsibilities. The KMIC research team is engaged in a number of activities aimed at enhancing the capacity of AMC ward councillors to make Ahmedabad city a more child-friendly one.”

KMIC has come up with a handbook and training booklet for AMC councillors. It has mapped out location and quality of amenities for each ward under AMC, designed social protection schemes for children living in urban Ahmedabad, and documented expenditure patterns of councillors’ discretionary budgets.

Recognising children’s need

Rakesh Jani, social policy specialist, UNICEF, said: “The initiative aims at generating knowledge that can act as an input to policy processes and be instrumental in advancing the rights and well-being of children.”

“The Government of Gujarat and its various municipal corporations have taken several steps to provide adequate social infrastructure recognising the needs of children in the urban areas, and the success of these policies and efforts would be aided by the improvement in governance and service delivery through greater involvement of local actors,” added Jani.

The repository has been prepared with inputs from ward councillors; officials from the city corporations, especially AMC; academicians and representatives from civil society organisations; and volunteers.

KMIC authorities stated that the material has been designed in a way that it is not only instrumentally useful to councillors but is a useful resource for anyone interested in urban local governance.

It will be open to multiple stakeholders, such as civil society organisations, academicians and administrative functionaries.