Putting Children First: Udaipur Workshop Shares Peer Cities' Experiences

Bernard van Leer Foundation (BvLF), in collaboration with the National Institute of Affairs (NIUA), organised an Urban95 Peer Cities Learning Workshop in Udaipur on the 25th and 26th of July 2019. This is the first of a series of workshops — planned under the Urban95 Programme — that will be held in partner cities in the coming months.

Representatives from government, non-government and research organisations, as well as consultants and stakeholders from the Urban95 partner cities — Udaipur, Pune and Bhubaneswar – attended the workshop.

Among them were officials and representatives from: the Udaipur Municipal Corporation (UMC), Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA); NIUA; BvLF; ICLEI- South Asia; Taru Leading Edge; World Resources Institute (WRI); Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP); Ecofirst Services Ltd.; Charities Aid Foundation India; Prasanna Desai Architects; and John Hopkins Centre for Communication Programmes.

The Urban95 Peer Cities Network aims to foster a shared understanding of the Urban95 principles, and provide a platform for training and knowledge exchange among peer cities. The network includes core Urban95 Cities — Udaipur, Pune and Bhubaneshwar — and plans to incorporate learnings from a range of technical and knowledge partners.

The Urban95 peer-to-peer learning workshops aim to:

  • Provide a platform for cross-city and cross-sector learning: take the opportunity to share successes in your cities or projects.
  • Give concrete solutions for specific issues: learn about actionable takeaways that could be applied in your context.
  • Build a network of urban professionals to take forward the conversation on supporting young children and caregivers beyond the workshop: join the movement to support young children and families in cities.

The objectives of the First Urban95 Peer Cities Learning workshop were to introduce tools to measure the needs and experiences of young children and their caregivers, share and learn from the data collection and analyse the experiences of partner cities, and to introduce social and behavioral change concepts and tools in the Urban95 initiatives of partner cities.

Chandra Singh Kothari, Mayor, Udaipur, while inaugurating the workshop, congratulated the NIUA and BvLF for organising the first ever Urban95 Peer Cities Learning workshop in the city. He emphasised the needs of young children and their caregivers, and on providing a safe environment to them, not only at the neighbourhood or street level, but at the city level too. He said collective efforts were required at all levels to make cities more ITC-responsive and ITC-friendly in order to move forward.

Officials from the PMC and the BDA spoke about their experiences and the overall progress achieved so far under the Urban95 Programme in the respective cities, along with the learnings gained. There were a few engaging workshop sessions on data collection (quantitative and qualitative), the techniques used along with the available methods and toolkits. For instance, the Gehl toolkit has been specifically developed for the programme to understand better the experiences of small children and their caregivers in the built environment. In fact, a survey was conducted on the second day of the workshop in order to collect data using the Gehl toolkit in ‘a real world scenario’.

Rushda Majeed, Country Representative, BvLF, thanked the participants for attending the workshop and announced a tentative schedule for the next workshop, adding that a formal invite would be issued soon.

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