Mountain Children’s Foundation » The MCF Story

The MCF Story

In our latest mcf-annual-report-2015-2016  see how over the past year, the young people of the MCF have continued to demonstrate their dedication, creativity, and commitment to working together to improve their communities. See our latest Annual Report .

We successfully carried out 5 programs, including:

  • MCF CHILDLINE: An emergency helpline (1098) for children
  • MCF CRY­: Child participation, sanitation, hygiene and nutrition
  • MCF Himmotthan: Central Himalaya Education Initiative
  • MCF Leafbird Foundation :Children and disaster mitigation

In addition, we published and distributed a total of 700 copies of PABAM magazine to our children’s groups every month.

The MCF also continues to advocate on behalf of child rights and child participation, which—despite increasing attention and acknowledgement of its importance in any development effort—is often lost in the design and implementation of projects and activities on the ground. Because the needs of each community are different, we do not have a set program or agenda. We do not seek to tell communities what they should do. Instead, we offer information, activities and support around a variety of strands, including health and sanitation, child rights and participation, disaster mitigation, education, birth registration, gender equity, environmental stewardship,and governance and the Right to Information Act. We try to introduce elements of each of these strands into all the communities in which we work.

As always, the energy and enthusiasm of the young people inspires our efforts. This year, young MCF members prevented a child marriage and helped two girls to go back to school. The children of the MCF also negotiated with their community and got permission to participate in the village general meeting, which had previously only been for adults. They have persuaded their families to build and use toilets and contributed significantly to the overall cleanliness of the village.

Despite these successes, we find it is still difficult to explain the MCF’s model—of partnering with local organizations to engage and empower young people to change their communities—to many funders. This year we were invited to submit project proposals for some major funders, which we believe was an acknowledgement of the quality of our work and the role the MCF now plays as an advocate for children in mountain communities. But after months of discussion and work in putting these proposals together, we realized that while the organizations valued the MCF team’s integrity and project management skills, they had not bought into the idea of our child-driven approach. Though these projects would have brought us significantly greater funding, they would have taken the MCF away from its core mission of working through children and stretched our team too thin, so we concluded that the costs were not worth the financial benefits.

What has served the MCF well all these years is working close to the ground and being responsive to the needs and priorities of the children and working in cooperation with our local partner organizations. While it is tempting to take on a project that offers us significantly larger budgets, abandoning our model of empowering and supporting the young people to lead the way cannot serve our mission.

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