Makkala Grama Sabha (Born with Rights) documentary film

Posted on September 12, 2012

In order to document the experiences of the Makkala Panchayats and their immense positive impact on rejuvenating democracy, we have made the film ‘Makkala Grama Swaraj’ (Born with Rights’ in English). These experiences are set in the larger frame of democracy in the country — and in establishing the citizenship of children.

The film covers the Makkala Panchayats in Karnataka that have empowered the children who are associated with it and given the local governments a new lease of life with their active involvement in not only identifying the problems they face, but also proposing solutions. They have made detailed presentations regarding the issues and problems they identified related to education, basic facilities, personal problems, gender discrimination, disability and child labour.

In the course of the film it becomes clear how children collect issues from each ward and explore the problems thoroughly. They are able to not just raise a problem but also propose solutions that are most appropriate to them. For instance, one of the problems that came up at a meeting was the lack of footbridges that severely hampered the mobility of children as well as adults. Children who feature in the film explain how in order to propose specific solutions; they had to collect more details such as where exactly the footbridges were required, of what length, how many people would benefit from that, etc. Adult facilitators have helped them in this process by asking critical questions and pointing out the significance of some of their observations.

Members of Makkala Panchayats and Bhima Sangha have conducted research studies, made interventions on the basis of the information they collect, lobbied with the officials at various levels for developments in their communities, collectively fought for their rights as children. They have made themselves heard in the state, national and international policy discussions and have advocated for consulting children in matters that concern them.
Children have clearly demonstrated how they can use political space to negotiate with the local governments and influence decision-making processes. Several adults who have interacted closely with children, as well as those who are well aware of the children’s process, such as Sri. L. C. Jain share their reflections in the film.

CWC has played an instrumental role in capacity building for both adults and children. This has resulted in children involved with the Makkala Panchayats becoming increasingly equipped with the means to deal with local government structures.

This film is set in Karnataka and depicts how children have been involved in the Governance of their Panchayat which has resulted in improved qualities of lives for the entire community. It also presents the result of the Children’s Grama Sabhas that are taking place in the State. Thanks to the historic circular by the Government of Karnataka.

This documentary has also been reviewed by Pratham Books. Read about that here.


Film duration: 55 minutes

Script: Kavita Ratna, Ganapathi M.M, Antonia Hungerland

Direction: Antonia Hungerland, Ganapathi M.M, Kavita Ratna

Production: The Concerned for Working Children & Antonia Hungerland