Book launch: Changing Lives in Andhra Pradesh

Despite rapid growth in the Indian economy, poverty continues to shape the experience of many children living in India as it impacts many areas of their lives ? from health and education and to their future opportunities ? according to a new book, Changing Lives in Andhra Pradesh: Young Lives Children Growing Up. This latest publication from Young Lives was released by Dr Shreeranjan, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India on 28 May 2013 at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. Unveiling the book, Dr Shreeranjan said tracking children over 15 years is a difficult but, ?There is a need to create a warehouse of such evidence and research that can help policy-makers make better policies.?

The book captures the voices of Young Lives children and their families. It tells how children in Andhra Pradesh see their lives and gives us a unique insight into how their lives are changing as they grow up. The children reveal what they think it means to be poor or rich, how they see their families, friends and communities, the importance of education, what is different between their generation and the previous one, and their dreams for the future. Their stories are accompanied by themed boxes that give more detail on the context in which the children are living.

The launch was attended by around 30 stakeholders from policymakers, researchers, staff from NGOs and INGOs dealing with child issues, UN organisations and the media. The event was chaired by Mr Thomas Chandy, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children in India and co-chaired by Professor S. Galab, Principal Investigator of Young Lives in India and Director of Centre for Economic and Social Studies (CESS) in Hyderabad. Mr Chandy mentioned that Save the Children is proud to be associated with Young Lives as the policy partner and the longitudinal data of Young Lives provides necessary and excellent observations for policy-makers.

Dr Renu Singh, Country Director of Young Lives in India gave the welcome address. ?How children experience poverty is critical to bear in mind when designing social policies,? she said. Dr Singh also gave an overview of Young Lives and its multidimensional approach to analysing childhood poverty, along with key findings from strategic focus areas of education and nutrition and an outline of the upcoming fourth household survey (due to start in July 2013).

Next, Dr Uma Vennam, Lead Qualitative Researcher for Young Lives in India and author of the book presented on the in-depth, qualitative research from which the profiles were taken. Giving an overview of the book she said, ?There is a need to listen to these unheard voices and tune the policies so that the dreams of these children can be fulfilled.? To give the audience the feel of the book, Piyali Sarkar, Communications Coordinator of Young Lives India presented some case studies.

The book launch was followed by two presentations. First, Dr Farzana Afridi, Assistant Professor in the Economics and Planning Unit of the Indian Statistical Institute presented her recent research on Female Labour Force Participation and Child Education in India: The Effect of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme? and Dr Vennam presented on ?Chronic Poverty Amid Growth: Insights from Long Term Poverty Trajectories?.

The presentations were followed by a lively interactive session. At the end, Dr Singh thanked the panel and the participants for sharing their views and engaging actively in the day?s discussion.

Read the book: Changing Lives in Andhra Pradesh: Young Lives Children Growing Up

Press coverage
The key to aspirations, The Hindu, 29 May 2013
Parents see education as an enabler in AP, research finds, The Hindu, 29 May 2013
Getting to the root of childhood poverty, One World South Asia, 28 May 2013
Educational Realities in Andhra Pradesh, Post Noon, 30 May 2013