Community volunteers developed in slums have emerged as community change facilitators for adolescent girls empowerment and community development processes.32 years old and 8th passed Anju,s life was limited to domestic works only in Purvidinkhera slum of Lucknow. After becoming community volunteers, she participated in training programme and mentoring sessions conducted by Sarathi Development Foundation with GlobalGiving partnership support. She gained recognition as a community change maker due to her work like supporting drop out girls for their enrolment in schools, mobilising parents for sending girls to schools, postponing marriages before legal age, providing feedback to government service providers on community issue like drinking water, need of toilets, mother and child health services. She facilitated re-enrolment of 9 adolescent girls in school and postponement of their early marriage. Her role is recognised by the government also in 2018 when she was selected as Urban Social and Health Activist known as USHA by the Department of Health. She is happy with this change in her life and work for her community. She thanks to the Sarathi, project and its supporters for providing path to bring this change.
204 community volunteers like Anju have been developed under the project in 80 slums. During the reporting period, they have facilitated re-enrolment of 69 adolescent girls in schools for continuing their education, oriented 787 girls on menstrual hygiene management and access to sanitary pads, facilitated 592 girls for financial literacy and opening their accounts in bank. These volunteers have emerged as a link between community members and public service providers like schools, elected local ward members, health and nutrition workers. It has brought benefits like installation of water supply systems, repairing of defunct hand pumps, construction of toilets.
Sarathi is enhancing capacities of slum community volunteers through regular supportive supervision, community meetigns, recognition of their work,knowledge updation, training, and their linkages with government schemes and service providers. We express our sincere thanks to GlobalGiving and supporters for continued support to bring impact in poverty stricken slums and disadvantaged adolescent girls.
Afsana belongs to a poor family. She passed standard seventh and was keen to study further but decision of her family deterred her. She stopped going to school. People around her would always say that there is no worth in a girl studying further, because she only has to do household work in her house or at her in laws.All this talk weakened her desire to study further and she dropped the idea to study and decided to abide by the will of her parents.Community Resource Centre for life skill education for school dropout girls and behaviour change counselling of her parents were instrumental in Afsana’s empowerment and her re-admission in eighth standard. Afsana was very motivated by her learning at CRC and this led her to make the decision to study again. Afsana represents a large number (38%) of 10 -19 years old out of school adolescent girls living in poverty stricken slums of Lucknow.
Our project has evolved into a powerful model in creating a fertile environment for the empowerment of adolescent girls in an urban slum context. Project is placing adolescent girl issues like child marriage, low education levels, discriminatory behaviours, domestic violence, lack of access to development services at the heart of ground-level development. During the quarter from June to August 2018, we focused on encouraging education among school drop- out girls through life skill education and behaviour change counselling of parents while building capacities of community volunteers, adolescent girls groups and child reporters at community level.
We started four community resource canters for life skill education to 117 school drop adolescent girls and strengthened adolescent girls groups having 1290 adolescent girls as members for self advocacy and behavioural change communication on their issues like child marriage, gender discriminatory practices, girl’s education. 60 child reporters were trained on writing stories for advocacy and communication and feedback on the issues like child marriage, school drop- out girls, domestic violence, sanitation, condition of schools, alcohol drinking affecting them , their families, community schools and surrounding. 204 community volunteers were guided and actively engaged in social & behaviour change communication, mainstreaming of drop out girls with schools, providing feedback to local governance institutions and government service providers on government service provisions including education, health, sanitation facilities, mid day meal in schools. Community volunteers visited 1385 households for behaviour change counselling on the issues like ending child marriage, sending their girls to schools, sanitation and hygiene practices. Sixty two women self help groups were facilitated to enhance women participation and their own financial resources through small savings to address their own and family requirements. Growing participation and communication of adolescent girls indicates change in social norms and behaviours of parents and community towards girls. It is reflected in re-enrolment of 55 drop out adolescent girls in public schools after a gap of 1 to 5 years, prevention of drop out of school going girls, participation of 117 drop out adolescent girls in life skill education, prevention of child marriages and building linkages of 745 adolescent girls and linked with health and nutrition services like immunisation and IFA tablets.
We are grateful to GlobalGiving and all our donors for continued support to bring change among most disadvantaged adolescent girls in resource poor slums. We are confident to scale and enrich our impact driven strategies with your support.
Project in partnership with Global Giving has taken an innovative step to enhance skills and resources for communication and advocacy on the issues affecting girls and wider community in slums of Lucknow. We identified 59 children and adolescent girls in age group of 10 to 18 years from 11 slums and 12 primary and upper primary schools to build their skills as reporters for voicing their issues, providing feedback to service providers and influencing behaviours. These 59 reporters have received three days training on identifying issues, writing stories with drawing and using their stories for communication with the stakeholders like school teachers, local governance institutions, community members. It is encouraging to note that a wide range of issues, needs and aspirations related to education, child marriage, community development, behaviours & mindsets, water and sanitations have emerged through the stories and drawings developed by these child reporters.
Archana (Child Reporter ) living in Badali Khera is continuing her education and wants to become a Journalist so that she can write and take community development issues to the government.
Neha (Child Reporter ) living in Adil Nagar slum writes real story to bring attention of local governance institution on problems girls and other children face in their schools. She raised through her story that girls denied access to toilets in school, water is logging in school, poor sitting arrangements are troubling children especially in winter.
Kaif (Child Reporter ) living in Makdum Nagar slum writes about his desire to become advocate so that he can help vulnerable people to access their rights.
Meenankshi (Child Reporter) writes a story about Mahi ( A 15 years old Girl in her slum) a victim of child marriage.Mahi wanted to continue her educated but was married despite her repeated request to her father. Her dream to become doctor was shattered. Meenkashi communicates wider through her stories to Stop Child Marriage.
It has been encouraging to see the motivation and enthusiasm of children and adolescent girls as child reporters. They are emerging new generation change makers in their families, community, schools and wider society. They are gaining a new recognition as reporter to escalate the issues affecting them, their families, their schools and community. We have plans ahead to enhance their skills, exposure and participation in platforms for advocacy and opportunities.