A Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) activity was conducted between 30th March to 4th April 2022 with parents and caregivers of children under the Urban95 programme being implemented in Udaipur city, supported by the Bernard Van Leer Foundation. The activity aimed to examine the challenges faced by the parents while commuting with children on the congested roads of Neemach Kheda and Saheli Marg of the city, understand the importance of playing regularly with children, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on them, and to highlight the disadvantages of “trip chaining” or taking multiple stops before reaching the destination.
The PLA activity included social mapping and focused group discussions, in which parents opened up about the challenges they faced while commuting with children, such as the presence of stray animals on roads, narrow footpaths, and heavy traffic. Caregivers highlighted there is no dedicated areas or park in the surrounding areas, they take evening strolls with children on the streets which increases the possibility of children getting injured by concrete roads or by vehicles. They said that they preferred covering short distances with children on foot, and to use two- or four-wheelers on main roads. The women said that they avoid taking the main road to go to hospitals and anganwadis to avoid the stares of strangers, because they had to veil their faces as some of the community elders frequented a tea shop there. The parents also discussed the importance of playing with children as it helps in the growth of the child and improves their communication and motor skills. They also suggested some positive measures such as widening roads and footpaths, maintaining parks and greenery, and better management of traffic. During the PLA, the Urban95 team was accompanied by members of the Centre for Communication and Change-India (CCC-I) team and the local Project Management Steering Unit of BVLF.