Upholding children’s right to protection, safety and a healthy childhood

Trapped in Cotton is our initiative with Save the Children India that aims to tackle child labour in cotton farming and production. Together, we’re strengthening the government-mandated structures to support child protection in the District of Dhar in Madhya Pradesh.

The challenge:

The Indian government specifies that under the District Child Protection Committee, every village should have a Child Protection Committee to ensure child protection services actually reach and work for the children in villages. But in Dhar, there were no village committees and therefore child protection issues weren’t being highlighted to the District Committee.

What we did:

During 2017, the first year of the programme, we focused our efforts on raising community awareness and strengthening government structures. Save the Children formed and empowered new committees in 21 villages to protect vulnerable children by linking them to existing welfare schemes. Child representatives can now identify any issues and ensure that relevant solutions are put in place.

The programme has also been designed around the needs of women and girls. For example, timings of training workshops have been established so that women and girls can attend. And 15 of the villages have elected a woman representative as the head of the village Child Protection Committee.

What we’ve learnt:

  •  Child participation is crucial, as children are the best placed to explain their own issues and concerns. 

  • Civil society can bridge the policy implementation gap. Save the Children played a crucial role in connecting child protection issues at village level to the district secretariat to ensure child protection policy worked.



children working in cotton and other agricultural fields are now back in local government schools.


vulnerable families have been connected to social welfare schemes to ensure food and housing security.


of the participants in the Child Protection Committees are women and girls.

For the first time ever, members of the District Child Protection Unit have conducted meetings to find the best possible solutions to support and protect vulnerable children in villages. So far, there have been two meetings.