Feb 9, 2016

Empowerment of 6000 Adolescent Girls in India.

Adolescent girls rally.
Adolescent girls rally.

Dear Donors, thanks for helping us to help the needy. Your generous donations enabled us to empower 1500 adolescent girls through our pretested intervention of Life Skills Education. In many communities, adolescent girls often lack spaces to build their confidence and self-esteem in constructive and healthy ways, particularly when it comes to communicating their needs and wants, exercising their rights, and expressing their emotions.

Building inner strength and making good choices are two of the most important ways we can help a girl to learn. Often, inner strength is called ‘self-esteem’.

We conducted Life Skills Education (LSE) classes for unmarried adolescent girls to help them build their confidence and self esteem. It is being executed in rural as well as urban area.  The proportion of girls with low self esteem reduced from 9% to 2% and proportion with low self efficacy from 14% to 3%.

Rural: In this quarter, 46 LSE classes were conducted and on an average 455 adolescent girls attended the LSE class. Five supervisors were assigned to supervise the LSE classes.

A rally of adolescent girls on “Preventing Child Marriage” was organized in 20 villages where a total number of 1164 girls participated to make the event successful. There was one more rally conducted on “Importance of Education for Girls” in 20 villages in which 1220 girls participated. A street play was organized in the month of October in 16 villages. The theme of the play was preventing child marriage.  The chief guest for the function was Smt. Jayashree, a renowned social worker and a research person who trained girls in performing street play. An audience of 1655 people was present for this play.

In the rural sector Life Skills Education for unmarried adolescent girls is well established and evaluated as it has been implemented since 2013.  Based on this experience IHMP has adapted life skills education for adolescent girls living in urban slums.

Urban: In urban slums LSE classes for unmarried adolescent girls started in August 2015. LSE classes in the urban context are conducted over weekends considering the school schedule of adolescent girls. A total of 203 girls from 9 slums attended LSE classes. Supervision of LSE was carried out through IHMP field coordinators.

We believe that using different kind of participatory activities makes the session more interesting for everyone. Moreover it helps girls to open up and respond.

IPC to parents of adolescent girls: Home based inter-personal communication (IPC) and counseling was planned and carried out for the girls who were found to be irregular at the LSE sessions. Home based IPC was provided by the field coordinator along with CHWs. During these visits counseling on importance of LSE, topics that are covered in the LSE curricula, etc. was provided. A total of 130 IPC sessions for girls and their parents were conducted. As a result 60 girls started attending the LSE classes regularly.

Peer leader selection and training: Two girls from each LSE class were selected as peer leaders. A total of 18 girls were selected as peer leaders from 9 LSE classes. Leadership training of 3 days duration was organized for peer leaders. A total of 17 peer leaders, 9 CHWs and IHMP field coordinators participated in the training. Participatory methods were used to generate discussions among girls.

Impact of LSE on cognitive skills: A total of 206 girls participated from 9 CHW areas in the pre-test and 180 girls were covered during the post test in the urban. There was a measurable and significant increase in cognitive and practical skills among the adolescent girls.

Case Study

Kalpana is a resident of Georai. She is 16 years old and studying in 11th standard. She completed ‘Life Skills’ course from the first batch of Life Skills Education in her village. She is a member of the adolescent girls club (Kishori Mandal). Her mother has studied up to 7th standard and works as the ASHA in her village. Her father has studied up to 9th standard and he works as an agriculture laborer.

She attended ‘Life Skills’ classes regularly. She learnt about the importance of education from the Life Skills classes. She could not afford to go to coaching classes or take tuition because of the poor economic condition of her family. She decided to do self studies in 10th standard. She got 67 percent marks in 10th Board exams because of systematic study and hard work.  She also used to go to work as an agricultural laborer with her mother during holidays. The money she earned was used for buying books and stationary required by her. She wants to do general nursing after 12th standard. She has decided to get married only after completing her education.

She was selected as a peer leader by her friends because she is always willing to help others in their studies.  After attending peer leader training, she has started writing reports for the adolescent girls club (Kishori Mandal) activities in the minute’s book given to them.  She learnt how to draw ‘mehendi’ (Henna) designs in her Life Skills classes. Now if there is a wedding of a girl in the village, she is called to do henna ‘mehendi’ for the bride.  She participates in the street play and encourages other girls also to take part.

Kalpana says “because of Life Skills education, my self-esteem has improved and I realized who I am? Now I do not hesitate to speak in front of anyone and I can express my opinion very well”.

 

Adolescent girls taking part in street play.
Adolescent girls taking part in street play.
Adolescent girls applying henna art.
Adolescent girls applying henna art.
Adolescent girls on their way to attend LSE class
Adolescent girls on their way to attend LSE class

Links:

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”.

 

For more information about our work please visit our

Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/InstituteofHealthManagementPachod

our Twitter at: https://twitter.com/IHMP_Pune.

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

*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: https://www.facebook.com/AdolescentGirlProject and our Twitter at: https://twitter.com/IHMP_Pune.

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

*all beneficiary names in this report have been changed 

 
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