AsiaERIKS Development Partner
ERIKS work in the region
We are working in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos and Myanmar. The regional office is in Cambodia, Phnom Penh, with a country office in Bangladesh.
We work in partnership with local organisations using an integrated approach strengthening children’s rights to education, health and protection. People learn about their rights and can hold authorities accountable. Climate change is visible in the region with for example recurrent floods and cyclones devastating large areas. Therefore, our interventions include disaster risk reduction and resilience strategies. We also respond to humanitarian crises when they touch countries in the region.
In Bangladesh ERIKS works for girls and boys to have access to health, education and protection. Communities living under constant threat of flooding are equipped with disaster preparedness and improve their living conditions to better counter recurring floods.
Bangladesh is one of the world’s most densely populated countries, with its people crammed into a delta of rivers that empties into the Bay of Bengal. In addition, since 2017 the country hosts the world’s largest refugee camp. Over the last ten years, Bangladesh has made significant progress in social development indicators such as female secondary schooling, infant mortality and child immunization. This despite a low per capita income and deep-rooted governance problems including corruption. However, many challenges remain; many children still lack access to health care and education. Child marriages and child labour are commonplace.
Through ERIKS´ projects many girls have got the opportunity of education and thereby escaped forced early marriages. Girls and boys have realised their own potential and are now participating in the development of their communities. Women subjected to violence and discrimination have received support to enhance their status and defend their rights. In the huge Rohingya refugee camp, ERIKS support health initiatives through the partner organization, Friendship, with special focus on nutrition.
In Cambodia ERIKS is focusing on 1) Child protection, trafficking and all forms of rights violation and abuse. 2) Children’s right to live in a family. 3) Parenting skills and livelihoods. 4) Community responsibility for humanitarian assistance with child rights focus. 5) Education for children. 6) Rehabilitation for children that have been subjected to trafficking, gender-based violence or abuse.
Child protection and education issues have been taken into account by the government. Legal frameworks and policies have been developed with ERIKS partner organisations as facilitators. Such as bailiff systems for victims and the victims’ families, Minimum Standards of Residential Care and financial education integrated into the school curriculum. However, the resources earmarked by the government for child issues is very limited. It is also a lack of implementation of developed policies.
The work of ERIKS has therefore been to strengthen different actors to implement a number of policies and equip duty bearers as authorities and parents to care, prevent and support children at risk and those who’s rights has been violated. Local authorities have been trained in child rearing issues and have supported and trained parents under their responsibility.
In India, ERIKS works for vulnerable groups to become aware of their rights and how they can change their situation. Communities at large have significantly improved their situations and children’s voices have been heard and changed through Children’s Parliaments, a movement making democracy a reality.
In India close to all children go to school and economic development is in full swing. However, the gaps are great; millions of people are still living in exclusion and poverty. Malnourishment and child labour are still big issues. Discrimination against girls and women is deep-rooted in society and domestic violence is daily experienced by way too many.
Through the projects supported by ERIKS, people living in exclusion get tools to change their situation and get access to social services. Children get together in Child Parliaments and motivate each other to be consistent in education and promote initiatives for environmental protection. Disabled people receive social security schemes, authorities provide for schools and people have learnt how to apply for improved infrastructure, such as clean water, sanitary latrines and roads. Where governmental health efforts have been inadequate, ERIKS’ partner organisations have identified the gaps and what can be done to reach the community and reduce child mortality. Village committees are activated to monitor activities implemented by the government health organisation and make them accountable. Health- and childcare workers are trained to reach women and children in need of maternal- and child health care.
In Laos ERIKS is working among indigenous people in the north. The focus is on Children’s rights to education, health and protection. The strategy of the work is a holistic community development approach where the families and larger communities are able to provide for their children.
The communities where we work are located in mountainous areas with very little government support services, lack of road access, food security shortage and lack of social service and with many different indigenous people. It is an area with opium production and use. People´s livelihood have been shifting cultivators and agroforestry. Health status has been low as well as education, most of the adult women do not know how to speak or read Lao. Food security have only reached 8 months a year with starvation as a consequence.
As a result of the support provided by ERIKS the quality of life has improved by establishing sustainable livelihoods and as such achieved better health and nutrition status, improved management of natural resources, and reached higher levels of education. Pre-schools teachers in a number of villages have been trained and got approval by the government to use the local language in parallel with Lao language and local traditional art. That has increased learning capacity among the children and acceptance from the parents. Nearly all children continue in the local school up to grade 4/5. Animal raising has changed to some extent and is more effective specifically with fence around the village to keep the animals outside which increase the health status among the villagers.
In Myanmar ERIKS is working in partnership with local organisations to promote protection, education and health care. Since armed conflict is still ongoing, humanitarian assistance with child rights focus is also being implemented, particularly in Kachin state, in the north of Myanmar.
The government in both controlled areas and non-government-controlled areas have increased their cooperation with ERIKS’s partners in responding to child issues. Various child protection mechanisms have been developed and applied with participation from children.
The armed conflict setting and ambivalent between the central government and independent organisations, has prolonged the peace agreement that have a huge negative impact on the work with children. Limited understanding of child rights issues among government officials, parents and communities is major issue as well as lack of resources in education and social services.
The result of the work by ERIKS partner organisations have changed parent’s attitude to their children and have stopped using physical and verbal punishment. Children feel safe to go to schools and other places in villages, which is not the case in the past. Pregnant women and mothers have knowledge on providing proper antenatal care, safe delivery and post-natal care, essential new-born care and proper nutritional intake for pregnant mothers.
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