In order to tackle multidimensional causes to child hunger, The Child Trust applies a two-pronged human rights strategy:
1) Identification, campaigning, capacity building and empowerment
We identify and document cases of marginalized groups suffering from hunger and approach them to become partners in identifying strategies for claiming the fulfillment of their rights. In this work, small-scale farmers are important stakeholders that we seek to built alliances with. In order to achieve food security, we need to invest in India’s agriculture and listen to the needs of our farmers. As a part of this outreach work, we conduct awareness campaigns informing them about their rights and which food, livelihood, and educational schemes that are available to them. We also do training and capacity building sessions for alternative livelihood options and strengthening of producing local food and we work to establish linkages to markets and banks in order to economically empower the affected people. Our goal is that the people are empowered, and that they gain control over their own situation and food access, as a way of ensuring a proper nutritional situation of their children. By support the development of community alliances, self help groups and producer groups we hope to strengthen the collective bargaining powers. This is necessary to gain political voice and challenge the structures that make the violations of their fundamental rights possible. We have also provided direct support to the poorest among poor families in the mode of Grain Bank, which is a community managed coping mechanism for meeting the food needs during difficult period.
In this programme, we have a special focus on women in general, and female farmers in special. It is a well-known fact that when women gain control over land and become empowered individuals with access to adequate food, health of families and children improves and more children attend school. Based on this, we have provided training in traditional and eco-friendly farming techniques and are linked to markets for sale of their products.
Simultaneously, we have been working with the migrant communities of Delhi whose right to adequate food is being severely violated. Our efforts have especially been targeted on getting ration cards issued, in order to secure their access to subsidized food grains under the government schemes.
2) Policy Analysis and Advocacy
We do analysis of national legislation and policies and compare whether these are in compliance with India’s national and international human rights obligations, and investigate whether the government is fulfilling its duties to promote, protect and fulfill fundamental human rights or not. We also do fact-finding missions and mapping of people's living conditions and their access to food, and in light of this data evaluate government policies.
Based on the analysis and evaluations we do advocacy directed at politicians both at the local, state and central state level. Our efforts are especially directed at the Government and Members of Parliament, as these are the ones who must be held accountable for India’s human rights obligations. We give specific recommendations on what measures should be introduce and how these should be implemented in order to meet the shortcomings identified in our analysis.
Our advocacy work is aimed at showing our politicians that investing in marginalized segments of society, and ensuring their entitlements to adequate and nutritious food, and a life free from hunger, are investments in a sustainable future where all of India’s population contributes to society in equal terms. By viewing every citizen as an independent rights holder, and stress that human rights applies to all casts, genders and ages, we believe that we can change society.
Alongside our partner FIAN, we have put great efforts into translating India’s human rights obligations to food into a national binding act. In 2013, the National Food Security Act has been passed, but there are severe shortcomings in both content and implementation. The Child Trust and FIAN continue the initiative to sensitising the Government towards fulfilling its commitment to secure access to adequate food to all of India’s inhabitants. A wide range of Acts are relevant in this concern, and we advocate for a more holistic approach by the Government, seeing the interdependent relation between the Land Acquisition Act, the Rights to Education Act, the Child Labour Act, Acts affecting the livelihoods of people, as for instance the Forest Act and the Mining Act.