1. Thematic Programmes
  1. Education Programme
  2. Goal

An enabling education environment for all children focusing on access, quality and retention

  1. Objectives
  2. Children, especially girls and children with disabilities, have improved access to primary education with special focus on their transition to secondary education
  3. Schools have a protective, conducive and participatory learning environment, with adequate numbers of trained teachers, sufficient learning materials and effective school management
  4. Advocate for policy reforms by evidence based research, revision of existing education planning process to improve education service delivery
  5. Introduce contemporary and skill based education in religious seminaries to provide options for career development
  1. Stakeholders
  2. School Going, Out of School and Working Children
  3. Parents and Teachers
  4. Local Communities and School Management Committees
  5. Education Department
  6. Departments of Religious Affairs
  7. National and International Non-Government Organizations
  8. Donor Agencies
  1. Working Approach 

The education progremme of children first has four pillars including a) access & retention b) quality of education & human capacity development c) institutional capacity development d) skill based & alternative education. It involves key stakeholders in all the processes from programme planning to participatory evaluation. Thus adopted approach help to develop, implement and evaluate programme in lines with genuine needs of the targeted audience and sets guiding principles for policy reforms. Children First also gives value to international commitments and takes them into account at all stages of project cycle management. Programme staff works in close collaboration with district, tehsil and cluster education officers for effective and efficient service delivery. Simultaneously continuous support is extended to teachers to build their professional capacities in content mastery, pedagogical skills and leadership management. Children First believes in community participation, hence involves school management committees & local communities in all its work. Education programme also have a hard component which ensures school reconstruction, installation of water and sanitation facilities, availability of teaching and learning aids and appropriate school furniture. The organization through advocacy & research works closely with directorate of curriculum research & development, directorate of education extension, education assessment centre and operational wings of the education department to develop workable tools and mechanisms to improve their relevant expertise. The hallmark of the education programme is its cross cutting themes of gender, poverty, child protection, disaster preparedness and school health. The Education Programme has an integrated area development approach involving other key actors.   

  • Institutional Capacity

The Education Programme has been working since the emergency response in AJK; the programme is highly dynamic and has potential to replicate the piloted experiences of different education endeavors which address the areas of quality education and development. The hand-on learning includes planning, development and strengthening of management information system, human and institutional capacity building, policy reforms and promotion of local governance. The organizational learning encompasses the institutional support with all inline required products to over 300 schools with a number of 50000 children.

  1. Child Protection Programme
  2. Goal

A protective and caring environment where children get optimal care and development today to become responsible citizens tomorrow

  1. Objectives
  2. Change social practices and attitudes to create a child friendly environment where the best interests of children come first
  3. Advocate for policy and legislative reforms through evidence based research to ensure child rights are met
  4. Respond and take effective measures to rehabilitate marginalized groups of children
  5. Ensure that voices of children are heard without distinction of class, color or creed
  6. Facilitate community based child protection networks by creating a cadre of volunteers

  1. Stakeholders
  2. Children and their families
  3. Government institutions
  4. Child rights focused National and International Organizations
  5. Local Communities and opinion makers
  1. Working Approach

Child Protection Programme follows area development approach with integrated package of programme interventions. The approach is three pronged in its nature to address the protection issues and promotes child rights. It includes a) Working with communities ensuring meaningful participation of children at grassroots level to establish a mechanism which ensures that the targeted population (children) has been protected and safeguarded from all forms of abuse and exploitation and their rights are promoted by creating networks and develop a cadre of volunteers to work as watchdog in their geographical proximities.  Child Protection Programme facilitates communities to establish Informal and indigenous referral mechanisms that are linked with concerned line departments.  b) Advocacy at policy level through building constituencies, conducting evidence based research, launching issue-based campaigns by involving children to bring about policy and legislative reforms. c) Develop programme packages, with pro-active consultation of target audience (children and communities), responding and taking effective measures to rehabilitate marginalized groups of children.

The Child Protection Programme Unit plans and executes its interventions according to defined approach with pro-active involvement of all stakeholders especially children. During the course of implementation the core values and principles of protection of child rights are adhered by adopting the best practices of advocacy and service delivery to address exploitation, abuse and neglect. Children First foresees sustainability by adopting child and communities centered approach with low cost indigenous programming. The protection of children is an integral part of all Children First thematic areas and caters to the diverse needs of the programme outreach.

  • Institutional Capacity

Children First has extensive experience in protecting and promoting child rights during and after the emergency in the earthquake affected areas of Azad Jammu & Kashmir. The unremitting advocacy and the prolific consultation process at stakeholders and policy level adopted by Child Protection Programme have yielded into prompt and proactive responses from the Government of AJK. The establishment of Child Rights Cell, Child Protection Cell, Child Protection Monitoring Unit and Corporal Punishment Elimination Cell at the concerned departments of Government of AJK are responding and ensuring the protection and the promotion of child rights. The community based child protection network (Child Protection Committees and Children Councils) has addressed the child protection issues through strong referral mechanism. Programme has so far catered the needs of 50000 children. Core strengths of the programme include effective social mobilization at community level, a strong networking with key stakeholders, presence at policy forums, trained and capable human resource and a rich experience of involving children in consultative process to devise Child Development Plans.

  1. Health Programme
  2. Goal

A society that seeks and receives appropriate and timely fulfillment of their right to basic health.

  1. Objectives
  2. Ensure availability and accessibility of quality basic health services by introducing locally compatible strategies
  3. Reduce maternal and infant morbidity and mortality through cost effective service provision and health promotion at grassroots level
  4. Advocate for equitable and sustainable interventions in basic health by mobilizing all stakeholders, impact based research initiatives and building of constituencies
  5. Introduce community based approaches catering to the specific health needs of children and adolescents
  1. Stakeholders
  2. Local Communities (women and children in particular)
  3. Department of Health and Education
  4. Public and Private Health Service Providers
  5. National and International Non-Government Organizations
  6. Community Based Organizations (Formal/ Informal) 
  1. Working Approach

Children First has a three-tiered approach which includes a) Working on preventive health b) Institutional strengthening through capacity building and c) Policy reforms by adopting innovative advocacy approaches.  In this context Children First introduces and implements best preventive health practices at the grass-roots level to promote healthy behaviors and improve linkages between community and service providers. The organization develops key strategies to improve workspace conditions and build capacity of service providers (Public and Private) to improve quality of care. Children First, in partnership with education department, develops indigenous strategies for health and hygiene promotion through active participation of women and children in order to achieve national targets for MDG 4 and 5. Further, the organization promotes and mainstreams women and children related quality health standards through action research. Children First advocates for appropriate budgetary allocations for health and mobilizes local and international funds to supplement the budgetary constraints within the health sector and ensure their appropriate utilization to maximize impact in collaboration with the Department of Health.

  • Institutional Capacity

Children First has been working with the government and other partners to address the gaps in service delivery, and to change people’s health seeking behavior.  The organization has been supporting the government through provision of essential health equipment and human resource.  The capacity of healthcare providers has been enhanced and the service delivery has been extended to school going children through school health project.  Children First’s advocacy at the government level and community ownership of its interventions is evident from acceptance both within the government and the community.  Children First has the potential of meaningful influence in the health sector in light of the fact that the organization has qualified and trained staff with extensive experience in their respective areas of expertise. In the past two years, various Information Education Communication and Behavioral Change Communication material has been developed and disseminated to key beneficiaries and stakeholders, which includes women, children and health service providers.  15000 women and 50000 children have benefited from health interventions of the present Health Programme.

  1. Livelihoods Programme
  2. Goal hoods Programme programme

Marginalized communities have sustainable livelihoods leading towards economic prosperity of the poorest of the poor and contributing to well being of child

  1. Objectives
  2. Enhance income generating assets of local communities to improve quality of life of marginalized families at grassroots level
  3. Local communities adopt usage of alternate skills and resources to improve their livelihood outcomes
  4. Improve existing opportunities of off-farm and on-farm activities by utilizing local human and natural resources effectively and efficiently
  1. Stakeholders
  2. Children and Local Communities
  3. Concerned Line Departments
  4. National and International Non Government Organizations
  5. Donor Agencies
  6. Public Representatives
  1. Working Approach

Children First has a community driven livelihood area development approach. It revolves around three basic principles of developing livelihood resource that is a) Graft on existing resource b) Innovate indigenous local livelihood opportunities c) Ensure pro-active involvement of women. The Livelihood Programme focuses on three major components of sustainable livelihood development which includes 1) Creation of assets 2) Mobilization of local resources through skill development and potential financial investment 3) Introduction of innovative programme interventions to improve the off-farm and the on-farm resources of local communities. The programme has greater emphasis on gender sensitivity ensuring meaningful participation of women in all livelihood initiatives which ultimately improve the access and control of marginalized group of women on their resources. Children First follows a participatory approach to strengthen the efforts made by local people in developing livelihood systems. The organization intervenes by facilitating local communities in prioritizing their livelihood needs envisaging available local resources. The process also entails futuristic development needs by analyzing existing livelihood systems and how those developed and changed with passage of time. Communities value their involvement in the development process and they show keen interest and actively participate throughout the project cycle. The approach ultimately supports existing livelihood strategies and opens new avenues for maximum utilization of indigenous skills and technologies. Children First ensures the sustainability of its livelihood initiatives and considers it extremely important for eradication of poverty which adversely affects growth and development of children.

  • Institutional Capacity

Since the Emergency Livelihood Programme of Children First has been successful in protecting targeted poor and destitute families and their children from economic insecurity. The organization has already initiated Community Livelihood Rehabilitation Project in programme outreach. Livelihood Programme has worked with 6000 vulnerable families by applying different livelihood interventions. The organization has already launched its comprehensive baseline exercise to assess the real gap of resources required for regenerating the livelihood resources in the programme outreach.  With existing expertise, systems and the linkages with government and communities Children First has an already strengthened institutional capacity which is an indication of very optimal future road map for bringing lasting change in the lives of the poorest of the poor.

  1. Physical Infrastructure Development Programme
  2. Goal

Improve community physical Infrastructure to facilitate socio-economic development and increase access to social services for marginalized communities especially children

  1. Objectives
  2. Improve productive community physical infrastructure to ensure sustainable livelihoods for disadvantaged communities to safeguard the basic needs of children 
  3. Strengthen the basic physical infrastructure to increase the accessibility to social safety network services and improve the socio-economic conditions
  4. Advocate and create awareness among stakeholders to adopt minimum standards regarding environment and child friendly construction of basic physical infrastructure
  1. Stakeholders
  2. Children and Local Communities
  3. Earthquake Reconstruction & Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA)
  4. Department of Local Government and Rural Development, Education and Irrigation
  5. International and Local Non-Governmental Organizations
  6. Donor Agencies
  1. Working Approach

Children First uses multi-disciplinary, innovative and community based approaches around community roads, water & sanitation, water harvesting structures, irrigation channels, hydro power and other small infrastructures. The integral part of these approaches include few basic things, those are, priority needs of people and alternate ways to address those needs, environmental impact of infrastructures and their subsequent affect on the communities and children, affordability of infrastructures and foremost the sustainability of infrastructures in service delivery perspective, operations and maintenance. For integrated planning and development of infrastructures engineers and planners from Children First held meetings with respective communities and expert consultants to develop such methods and tools which enable them to deal with complexities of technical infrastructure options and socio-economic realities, such consultations ensure that infrastructure solutions are appropriate in the community and child context. The main emphasis of the approach is to provide such infrastructure solutions that effectively correspond to local needs and can be operated and maintained at the local level. Children First ensures active participation of local communities, children and concerned line departments at each step of planning, execution and management of infrastructure related interventions primarily to inculcate a sense of responsibility which ultimately leads to ownership of projects. The sustainability of the projects are ensured by creating operations and maintenance (O&M) fund managed by O&M committee.

  • Institutional Capacity

Children First has profound skills and learning from their on-going and completed community based physical infrastructure projects. The organization proactively responded after the 2005 earthquake and reconstructed the infrastructure which includes 72 temporary schools, 105 semi permanent schools, 40 early childhood centers, six learning resource centers, six high and nine primary permanent schools, up-gradation of two children parks, three residential health units and rehabilitation of three business centers and six productive infrastructure schemes initiated under the Community Livelihood Rehabilitation Plan. The organization has qualified human resource which includes professional engineers, social scientists and community development specialist with ability to assess, plan and execute infrastructure and related projects adopting an integrated development approach.

  1. Disaster Preparedness Programme
  2. Goal

Build communities’ resilience to disasters in a sustainable manner to reduce vulnerability of communities in general and children in particular

  1. Objectives
  2. Building the capacity of local communities and children to prepare for respond to and recover from  adverse affects of disasters
  3. Institutional strengthening and development of disaster risk reduction systems to manage all types of disaster effectively and efficiently
  4. Provide immediate support to safeguard children from all forms of abuses ensuring access to safe places and other interventions in times of emergencies
  1. Stakeholders
  2. Children and Communities
  3. Government Departments
  4. Civil Society Organizations and INGOs
  5. Donor Agencies
  1. Working Approach

Children First has four-component disaster preparedness approach which includes a) Strengthen Disaster Preparedness Unit within Children First b) Capacity building of all education and other local institutions within programme outreach c) Institutionalizing and strengthening disaster risk reduction mechanisms d) Develop cadre of volunteers within programme outreach. The organization approaches to its target outreach by initiating vulnerability assessment and ranking the most disaster prone pockets. As a result the mapping of foreseen disasters is carried out and list out the high risk segments of population and physical assets. Based on the mapping exercise the targeted groups and infrastructures are identified. Children First has adopted the child to child, child to parent and teacher to community methodology for disseminating the knowledge, practice, skill and work on change behavior at grassroots level. Sustainability of the initiatives is ensured by developing a community based disaster risk reduction mechanisms based on two principles 1) Active participation of all stakeholder and 2) Productive linkages (collaboration, cooperation and coordination among the line departments and other relevant stakeholders). On the basis of resource gap analysis the proposed outreach (union council) are resourced with essential equipment and material. Simultaneously efforts are being initiated together with agencies working on disaster preparedness to incorporate disaster preparedness subject as part of the curriculum.

  • Institutional Capacity

Children First has earned a lot of reverence from government and communities for its work in emergency. The organization has proactively promoted greater engagement and collaboration among like-minded agencies, communities and government institutions to provide immediate support for the protection of children in the context of disaster. The organization developed training material and also evolved different training methodologies to educate children, community members, teachers and government officials about disaster risk reduction and preparedness. The core strength of Children First is its institutional memory , trained human resource, and on hand learning about preparedness and response of devastating earthquake of 2005.

  • Governance

Children First firmly believes in attaining the highest standards of good governance recognizing the fact that a smooth execution of strategies mainly depends on the quality of governance.  The existing procedures of the organization ensure accountability to keep its functions transparent which attract both our employees and the network partners. Children First is resolute to adhere its vision, mission and values and derive core principles which subsequently influence all our programmes and plans of action.

Children First has a highly qualified human resource with sound professional ethics in their respective areas of work.  At all hierarchal levels of the organization, from its Board of Directors to the lower level managers, Children First has circumspectly selected its team which is committed to mission, vision and values of the organization.   

Children First board comprises of 6 members, who have been nominated on the basis of their services for the well being of society, additionally, they have a deep understanding of the development context of Pakistan.   The Management Unit of Children First comprises of 6 positions i.e. Chief Executive Officer, Manager Operations, Manager Programmes, Manager Policy & Research, Manager Human Resource and Manager Finance.