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Nov 10, 2015

Empowerment of 6000 Adolescent Girls in India - Preventing early marriage and early conception

Institute of Health Management, Pachod (IHMP) started the “Integrated reproductive, sexual health and family planning project for young married women” in urban slums of Pune city in 2015. The project is supported by Yardi Software India a Pune based IT company. Project implementation was initiated in May 2015, after conducting a baseline study. The key activities involved in the project are:


Monthly surveillance by the CHWs - : Community Health Workers (CHWs) recruitedby IHMP,oneper slum, for 12 slum areas, conduct monthly home visits to assess health and information needs of each household including any reproductive morbidity.

Need specific behavior change communication and communication through a social norms approach: During home visits the CHWs provide need specific - interpersonal communication and counselling. Monthly group counselling sessions are conducted for young married women and their parents. During this quarter 30 sessions were conducted and 527 adolescent girls attended the group meetings.

Life skills education was initiated at the slum level for unmarried adolescent girls. In 12 slums, 221 adolescent girls are attending life skills education classes.

Outreach services by IHMP ANMs: Primary level care for maternal and reproductive health is being provided through project staff. Sixty two clinics were organized in this quarter and 1150 young married women were provided reproductive and sexual health services.

Specialised clinic started at PUHC- Clinics for emergency obstetric and gynaecological services were started at the primary urban health centre from August 2015 to improve access to specialised care for high risk women from our slums.

Community based monitoring (CBM) through slum health and development committees (SHDC) in 12 project slums - A total of 139 slum residents from the project area are actively involved in monitoring project activities in order to ensure that young women receive the services that they require.


Case Study: Siddhi gets a second chance to go to school


Siddhi, a 13 year old girl in one of our slums had stopped going to school for the last two years.


She grew up in a household in Pune where she and her younger sister assumed all the household responsibilities while her two brothers were able to attend school. Siddhi left school and started helping her mother who works as a laborer at a construction site.  Her younger sister goes to school occasionally as the family cannot afford the school fees and travel costs.


Siddhi's father deserted the family when her mother was six-months pregnant. Her mother fell sick and couldn't work. The full burden of the household fell on young Siddhi's shoulders.


One of our Community Health Worker identified Siddhi’s plight and brought it to the notice of our staff and requested IHMP to find a solution. Siddhi and her sister were immediately enrolled for Life Skills Education that is provided by IHMP in their slum.  Along with basic education, the sisters were taught about nutrition, health and hygiene, as well as other topics that are useful in their day-to-day lives. 


After that we went to the school where Siddhi was previously enrolled and tried to get her re-admitted so that she could fulfill her dream of getting an education. However, the school was not willing to take her back unless the pending fees for the previous two years were paid. The family could not afford to pay the school fees.


IHMP identified donors who agreed to pay the fees and support Siddhi and her sister’s education. Today, both the girls are no longer laborers. Instead, every morning, they dress up proudly in their pink and maroon school uniforms. They carry their books in their school bags and wait for the school bus like the other children.


We were successful in supporting Siddhi because of our generous donors. Siddhi is excited that she is ready to catch up with her missed classes and hopes to join her friends in the ninth grade soon.


Siddhi’s mother says, “My children would have remained illiterate if IHMP wasn’t there. IHMP was the one that provided the opportunity for my children to lead a better life and have a brighter future. Now I really understand the value of education. It has the capability to bring an immense change in a person’s life.”


“Girls’ education is the single best investment we can make to fight poverty”.


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*all beneficiary names in this report have been changed

Aug 14, 2015

Empowerment of 6,000 girls in India

Empowerment of 6,000 girls in India: Preventing Child marriage and Early Conception


“Life skills education classes taught me that a girl should not get married before 18. I told my parents and stuck to it. I will only get married after I finish my higher education.” Seema*, aged 16

Preventing child marriage

 When an adolescent girl becomes a child bride she loses her chance to finish her education. Seema*, aged 16, lives in rural Maharashtra where her father earns a limited income from farming. Her father only wished to pay for her brother’s schools fees and wanted to make Seema a bride at just 15 years of age.  We selected Seema for life skills education as part of our program to “Empower 6,000 girls in India”. As a result, she developed enough self-confidence and self-efficacy to challenge her father’s plans: even managing to enlist the support of her uncle and aunt in her plight. All Semma desired was to finish her education. An entitlement so many take for granted. However, for girls at risk of becoming child brides finishing school is a right that is truly treasured.

Increasing confidence in vulnerable adolescent girls – as well as educating them about their rights – provides them with effective skills to maintain their status as single girls until they are old enough to marry. Since 2013 we have reached 32 villages and 1200 girls, reducing the number of vulnerable adolescent girls marrying before 18 by 15%.  Your support has been integral in this reduction in the number of child brides in rural Maharashtra.

We are now extending these classes to include training on how to use tablets and the internet. These skills are not taught as part of the girl’s formal education and will be of invaluable use to them in their studies and in their future lives.


Sexual and reproductive health education

Despite our many success stories the practice of child marriage is still common in the state of Maharashtra. The majority of girls are still getting married before the age of 18. These child brides are at risk of becoming pregnant when their bodies are not ready for the strain of pregnancy.

Pregnancy is risky for women at any age. However, young girls have an especially high risk of miscarriage, complications in pregnancy and have a 5 fold increase in maternal and neonatal mortality rates. To reduce the number of these risky pregnancies, comprehensively trained community health workers, employed by IHMP, offer free workshops on contraception and natural family planning methods. This knowledge will help to delay the age at which child brides have their first child and help them to control the size of their family in the future. If an adolescent girl does become pregnant, the community health workers will ensure that they attend monthly check-ups, eat a nutritionally balanced diet and seek appropriate treatment if complication do arise.

In addition to rural area programs, we are also in the initial stages of implementing a reproductive, sexual health and family planning project in 12 slums in the city of Pune. After the first month of implementation, the community health workers reached 755 married girls with their services and the number of pregnant adolescent girls receiving antenatal care increased by 81.8%. Furthermore, the percentage of the pregnant women that sort treatment for reproductive tract infections increased by 12.4%.


Tackling gender issues in society

Our projects are not only helping the girls who attend the courses but also aim to change deeply ingrained social attitudes that deny women the same opportunities as men. The next generation will continue to benefit from our work as these adolescent girls want to ensure that their own daughters complete their education.


“I will make sure my daughter studies well and gets a job for herself. I want her to be financial independent.”

Sunita* aged 15


 Additionally, our programme includes workshops to educate married and unmarried adolescent boys, which are run by male peer leaders. These workshops encourage discussion on gender discrimination, gender based violence and male dominance.  We believe that open conversation and male-male discussions that challenge gender based discrimination is crucial in changing society’s attitudes towards women - and in tackling the issue of child marriage for generations to come.  Identification and acknowledgement of the problem is the first step in enacting change.

At the projects current scale, 240 youth have attended these workshops.


Reaching our goal of 6,000

With your continued support and generosity we hope to be able to expand the number of rural villages that we are able to run our programmes in. We are currently carrying out an extensive census to collect information on vulnerable adolescent girls in 2 further areas in rural Maharashtra : this would result in the programme being scaled up to another 51 villages. Alongside the census, IHMP staff members have conducted community meetings to introduce the programs to the community. The main objective of these meetings is to create a conducive environment for the projects to be run in the village, a technique which has proved to be very effective in the villages already involved in our programs.

Without support from you, our donors, our work would not be possible. The staff at IHMP and our beneficiaries are ever grateful for your generosity and continued interest in our work. Thank you.

For more information about our work please visit our Facebook page at: and our Twitter at:

Our website in currently being redesigned and will be completed in September.

*all beneficiary names in this report have been changed 

May 18, 2015

Empowerment of 6000 Girls in India-QuarterlyReport

Kishoris with instructors
Kishoris with instructors

Empowerment of 6000 Girls in India – Quarterly Report – April 20, 2015


 Dear Donors,

Our Heart Felt Gratitude for Your Continued Support

In our last quarterly report we had described the “Integratedproject for empowering adolescent girls and protecting young married women”, which is being implemented in 32 villages of Aurangabad district since 2013. In the report we had shared details of Life Skills Education, which had resulted in improved self esteem and self efficacy of adolescent girls. Over 1200 girls have completed the Life Skills Education course.

The “Integratedproject for empowering adolescent girls and protecting young married women” is now being scaled up to another 53 villages having a population of 76,000 in Jalna district.

On 14th February 2015, 1200 girls that have completed the Life Skills Education course were given certificates and we launched the new programme that is being scaled up in the adjoining Jalna District. More than 1500 adolescent girls, their mothers, frontline workers and district officials attended the launch event. The Consul General, Consulate of Canada in Mumbai who was the Chief Guest for the launch event, gave away the certificates to the adolescent girls. The Consul General presented The Diefenbaker Defender of Human Rights award to the staff of Institute of Health Management, Pachod. Government officials from Jalna were presented the proposal for the project that is being scaled up in their district.

In the last quarter of 2014, Institute of Health Management, Pachod (IHMP) was invited to submit a proposal for funding under the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI). IHMP decided to initiate a peer led programme for empowering adolescent girls. In order to implement this project, adolescent girls who were selected as peer educators underwent training to acquire leadership skills, skills for using computers and accessing the internet.

Computers and bicycles provided by the Canadian Government were distributed to the adolescent girls groups (Kishori Mandals), during the launch event organised on 14th February 2015. The event received wide scale coverage by the local media.

Training of Peer Educators

Training of peer educators was organized in January and February 2015. The objectives of the 4-day training were as follows:

 Develop leadership and team building skills in adolescent girls.

  1. Finalize roles and responsibilities of peer educators.
  2. Develop skills among peer educators for conducting life skills education for adolescent girls.
  3. Develop skills for planning a community project in their villages.

Soon after undergoing leadership training the peer educators were invited for skill development training in the use of computers and internet. 

Training in Computer and Internet

Peer educators were provided basic skills in the use of computers. They were taught to create a new folder, add folders for contacts, connect to a Wi-Fi network, install applications, etc. They were taught to understand the use of a computer / tablet and its accessories for participatory computer education. A total of 182 girls and 18 community health workers from 16 villages completed the training and acquired the above mentioned skills.

After the completion of the training each peer educator will adopt five adolescent girls from her village. She will conduct life skills education for these girls and teach them skills required for the use of computers and accessing the internet. Each peer educator has identified 5 girls in her village, with a focus on girls with low self esteem and self efficacy.

Tablets have been distributed to the community health workers. They will make the tablet available to the adolescent girls whenever required.

Twenty four adolescent girls groups have been given bicycles for learning how to ride them. Once they have acquired these skills, bicycles will be loaned to girls desirous of higher education accessible in neighboring villages.

 Case Study I:

Ujjwala is from Vadacha Tanda village. She came to the Institute at Pachod for leadership training. After undergoing training she organised an Adolescent Girls Group (Kishori Mandal) in her village. She undertook team building with the group of adolescent girls to implement a project in their village.

The Adolescent Girls Group visited each house and gave information about the importance of education. As a peer educator she motivated all the adolescent girls to complete their education till the 12th standard at least. She organised her group to perform a street play in different parts of their village on “Importance of Education” and “Delaying Age at Marriage”. The inter-personal communication and street plays have had a measurable impact on changing these social norms.

In spite of resistance from the parents the girls continue to attend school regularly as they have understood the importance of education and its impact on their future. We are hopeful that the more girls will complete class 12 and pursue college studies.

 Case Study II:

Komal is from Kadethan Tanda village. A training programme of three days duration, on the use of computers and tablets, was conducted at the Institute of Health Management, Pachod. Komal had heard about computers and tablets but had no knowledge or skills regarding their use. By attending the training she learnt skills for using tablets and accessing the internet.

After receiving the training Komal said “I learnt about Google Search, different websites, creating folders and also how and where to use these applications. I learnt to use the tablet for taking photographs and videos. This training has opened a whole world of information about which I had absolutely no knowledge. I have acquired a range of skills that have widened my horizon that I could not have dreamt of before this training.

As a peer leader I have confidence that I can impart this knowledge and the skills I have acquired to the five girls from my village that I have adopted. My group is very excited and happy to learn about the tablet. I have taught the girls how to check examination results for 10th and 12th standards on the internet. They have learnt how to access websites of colleges to get necessary information about various courses. Skills for accessing the internet will be very useful for the five girls in my group that I am expected to mentor”.

Integrated Project for Adolescent Girls in Urban Slums of Pune City:

A similar integrated project for the empowerment of unmarried adolescent girls and protection of married adolescent girls and young women is being implemented in 10 slums of Pune city that have a 20,000 population.

The baseline study indicates that there is a high drop-out rate from schools after the age of 11 years. Very few girls can access higher education or vocational training.

Adolescent girls have poor mobility, both within and outside their slums. Their participation in community activities is uncommon. The girls have poor decision making skills. A substantially high proportion of slum women in the age group 20 to 25 years were married before the legal age of 18 years.

Dietary and nutrition knowledge and practices are poor. Knowledge about reproductive health is abysmally low. Utilisation of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services is low. Young women are dependent mostly on the private sector for these services. A negligible proportion of young women utilise free health services provided by the Municipal Corporation. The proportion using contraceptives is low. A high proportion of young married women reported maternal and neonatal morbidity, low birth weight babies and reproductive morbidity including domestic violence.

Future Plans:

This Integrated project for adolescent girls and young women living in the slums of Pune city will be scaled up to cover 1,40,000 slum population through a network of six NGOs.

If you feel our work is worthy of support please become a regular donor. Once again I thank you all for supporting IHMP.

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Like it, share it and help us reach out to others who are interested in issues concerning adolescent girls in India.

Dr. A. Dyalchand


Institute of Health Management, Pachod (IHMP)

32/2/2,   Kharadi Road, Chandannagar

Pune 411014, Maharashtra, India.

  1. 91 20 6410 0790 / 91 20 2026 4833
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