Today, the quality of the environment in which millions of children are growing up is inadequate by any number of criteria. Overcrowding, lack of potable water and sewage facilities, lack of adequate food and inadequate care taking characterize the environment of many young children, depriving them of basic rights. The quality of care the young child receives determines his/her development, care which includes much more than keeping the child safe and free from harm. The type of care-giving behaviour depends to a large extent on the child's developmental age and the health and nutritional risks that the child is facing. For example, during the first year of life, the child is at the greatest risk for mortality. During the late infancy and during the toddler period, the child is at greater risk for growth stagnation.
In Nepal, the children of 0-6 years age group are usually neglected in development programs of both governmental and non-governmental organizations. There are no facilities to bring out their hidden talents and creativity and they lack support for their overall development. Women, particularly mothers, have to take responsibility for their care, nourishment and development, and in most cases they take their children with them to their work places. While the child is then deprived of the right to socialization, proper health and nutritional care, s/he is also exposed to various infections or put at-risk for accidents. The mother, on the other hand, is over-burdened and the opportunity to generate extra income is limited for her. Children's development is a holistic process as it cannot be compartmentalized into health, nutrition, education and social or emotional variables. All of these aspects are interwoven in a child's life. It has thus created a need of a comprehensive childcare and early childhood program.
Early childhood programs are expanding rapidly due to increasing demand. The demand has come from both urban and rural communities, from those wishing to have better healthcare, from those concerned with supporting the child's cognitive development, and from those seeking a safe place for their children. In order to develop good habits among the children and to provide them with opportunities and support for their development and education, the need for child-centred programs was identified by many community groups. This resulted in the establishment of 10 community-based child development centres in the district of Udayapur, in partnership with donor agencies as well as community groups.
Young children are not the only neglected group in Nepal. Youth are yet another group that have been typically marginalized from the mainstream development process. The potential for the positive contribution by youth to the economic, political and cultural development of the country has been overlooked, and consequently, the development of their potential has not been tapped into. Youth is a stage in a person's existence, a period of transition, and a period of socialization and maturity during which they are often exposed to various risks, such as HIV/ AIDS, drug use, peer pressure and challenges within the family. Adolescent girls and married young women are exposed to various forms of sexual harassment at home, in villages, schools and during public events, such as marriage ceremony, cultural and recreational programs, and in the bazaar. Often, women and girls themselves are blamed for provoking men for sexual harassment.
Recognizing the importance of developing youth leadership qualities and in strengthening youth as a resource for social change, WOREC has been facilitating youth involvement in the formation and strengthening of social democratic intuitions directed towards protecting human rights of people through their independent participation.