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Protocols for making Melas Child Friendly

As per the guidelines of The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) for organizing Child Friendly Melas and Large Gatherings the following are to be followed for making a mela venue child friendly.

Set up for a Child Friendly Mela/Large Gatherings

  • Mapping of population of the district, specifically child population, where the mela is being planned may be done in advance by using the database of Registrar General of India. This will enable to ensure safety measures for children before organizing the mela/large gathering. The mapping of child vulnerability done by Child line India Foundation can be used as a planning tool to add District/area specific elements to the services being provided for the protection of children.
  • Leverage maximum usage of various available technologies for example: bar coding technique and other available technological medium to ensure that no child goes missing and can be easily able to trace.
  • A web page to be created on the official website of the State/District with all necessary information pertaining to mela including, route maps showing the locations of all mela/event sites in the city. This shall also be given on the official website of the concerned Departments and mela/event organizing committee.
  • To create attractive, playful and engaging environments that stimulates the imagination and is fun for children, colours should be used for ground coverings, furniture, and lighting to make the place feel inviting and child friendly.
  • Before organising a mela or a large scale gathering, a preparatory meeting with the young people/students may be called to invite their fresh ideas to make the design modern, exciting and Child Friendly. Designing of the premises should be done in a way to make the best use of the available space.
  • Special Radio Jingles should be developed and announcements can be made by the eminent personalities/actors on the importance of safety mechanisms.
  • Inclusive – providing opportunities for safe and healthy enjoyment for all ages and abilities, especially children with special needs.
  • Provide a comfortable physical environment (shade, shelter, winter & sun).
  • Ensure Mela/event places are accessible and link in with public transport services. Information regarding public transport with routes should be made available for commuters.
  • Fire exit and emergency evacuation routes to be planned. Arrangement of Fire services/ambulance should be made. Risk assessment of those hazards which could cause harm to staff or members of the public attending the event, should be undertaken before setting up mela/large event. This may be done as per guide prepared by National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) for State Government, local authorities, Administrators and Organizers, titled as, Managing crowds at events and venues of mass gatherings”.
  • Smoke detection fire alarms should be placed all over the mela premises.
  • Setting up lost and found centres across the mela/ event premises. This should also be linked with Khoya Paya portal for missing/found children initiated by Ministry of Women and Child Development if the child is not traceable within 3-4 hours.
  • To engage multilingual persons to make announcement for easy communication with the wards of missing children who came from various states of the Country.
  • Leaflets to be distributed with Do’s & Don’ts, route maps, locations and emergency contacts. Emergency contacts should be displayed at the website of State/District and public places. Emergency telephone directory should include telephone numbers of key personnel and external agencies
  • Helpline numbers at railway stations, bus stands and inside the mela premises should be displayed.

Guidelines related to Entry Gate

  • Security Guard/Police Personnel/ Commandos to be deployed at each entry gate for crowd control, safety and security and also to check any cases of harassment. Barricades should be used to restrict the crowd.
  • Technology based innovations for ensuring protection of children mainly to track missing children viz: Bar-coding, RFID (Radio frequency identification) tags and other available digital technological innovations to be introduced for example a tamper-proof wrist band may be tied to every child at the entry gate. Parents' mobile number or any other contact number should be on the tag using indelible ink. This could be feed into a special mobile and Internet application and whenever a child is found lost, the parents can be contacted by using the mobile number.
  • Awareness campaigns on advantages of tagging & what to do when lost must be clearly impressed upon both the parents/guardians & children themselves.
  • Entry & Exit Gates from Ghats (if near river side) should be separated & number of tags issued at entry gates should be retrieved/returned on exit gates.
  • Installation of CCTVs cameras at entry and exit gate and within mela/large gatherings.
  • Awareness/information dissemination regarding probable kinds of abuse against children through various audio visual means: such as: pamphlets, loudspeakers etc.
  • Volunteers of Child line India Foundation to be deployed to support Frisking booths for Women. Women booth should have facility for frisking children rather separate children Frisking booths. Frisking of a female child is to be done by a female volunteer only; therefore at least one shift based volunteer has to be available throughout the day.
  • The Registration Counter should be attached to the Frisking Booth.
  • A Child Help Desk should be established for dissemination of information related to laws/policies/schemes related to children etc. Child Welfare Committee (CWC) member, Childline, Counselor, an official of Anti Human Trafficking Units (AHTU) and a Social worker should be part of this Desk. Child Help Desk should be equipped with facilities like video conference, CCTV, Computer etc.
  • If children found in begging, performing Road shows, circus or in any kind of child labor should be brought to Child Help Desk and from there Child Welfare Committee (CWC) may send the child to Children Homes as per Act.
  • Easy signage’s (in local language also) for Child Rights Desk/ toilets/food area/entry and exit should be displayed all over the premises. Registration counters for adults accompanying children/children coming alone. If a missing child is found, whose parents are from some other State and help to understand the language being used is required, a call to 1098 may be able to resolve the language issue.

Guidelines related to inside the premises

  • CCTV coverage at all vulnerable locations to be monitored at the control room.
  • Large hoardings of visuals on the mela and safety instructions should be made to create awareness
  • Lost and Found Centre.
  • Language experts should be appointed for making announcements in local language including sign language experts should be positioned at Help desk Counters
  • Child Friendly Corner/space; Multiple Children corner  to be established
  • First Aid and Medical Desk; Medical Tents should be set up in the mela premises in every one km distance. Free Medical aid/first aid should be provided.
  • Entry/Exit/Toilets with ramps for disabled should be, Attendants and adequate security.
  • Ramps for Children with special needs
  • Prohibition of selling of Harmful Substance like: cigarette, bides, gutkhas etc.
  • First Aid Volunteers, Disaster risk volunteers and health volunteers should be posted across the mela and from points where people enter, at bus-stands, railway platforms etc.
  • Waste management (garbage bin arrangements, waste collection schedule, recycling plan) should be ensured.
  • The Mela authority should ensure placement of separate waste bins for bio-degradable/food waste and non- bio-degradable waste.
  • For easy identification colour coding may be done for these separate types of bins.
  • The disposal of the waste collected in bins should be done frequently.

Guidelines related to Exit Gate

  • The counting of tags at exit gate and comparing with those issued at entry gate will ensure, no child missing, no of strips/wrist bands tagged at the time of entrance in zone/ghats must be matched with the numbers of strips/bands while exiting. The serial number of strips/wrist bands must be recorded in a register while exiting. In case of shortage of strips/wrist bands, location of children must be verified from the mobile number, recorded at time of entrance and prompt action may be initiated to trace the children.
  • CCTV cameras at each exit gates.
  • Security Guards/Police/Child line volunteers at each exit gate
  • Special vigilance at exit gates to ensure no child goes missing/trafficked.
  • Emergency exits to be planned.

Source : NCPCR handbook on Guidelines for organizing Child Friendly Melas and Large Gatherings.

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