Sep 15, 2016

To Aware a Woman is to Aware a Complete Family

It is rightly said to educate a women is educate an entire family. Women carry their knowledge, their awareness to its root and it spreads to the branches i.e. to the family. Our major focus has always been to empower women. Our project has always kept women and girls in focus and addresses all the issues related to them. With empowerment we aim at creating awareness among women leading to their behaviour change and making them independent. With the effective tools like Change Map, Slum Action plan, volunteer, Mahila Mitra(skilled member of women group), Women groups, we have engaged around 1200 women and 4500 adolescent girls in the behaviour change process this month.

Sarathi with the help of its models, initiatives and collaboration with other social institutions organised a counselling session for women addressing issues like domestic violence, physical violence, dowry issues, women rights, family disputes & conflicts. Women were also guided how they can avail their social security schemes by government like pensions. In this session certain women related health issues were also addressed by the counsellor. It was observed that health and vaccination concerned areas lacked awareness among women and were majorly neglected. 60% participation of women was marked in this session. Later it was also seen that out of these women who participated in the session, raised their voices against the violence happening and are now volunteering in creating awareness among others. With this collaboration we were able to provide skill development training to women through vocational training. In this training our already skilled women train other women and enhance their skills. This approach is opted by Sarathi to provide helpful training to our women and also to provide placement to skilled women.

We reached out approximately 100 slums covering 10,000 families. Out of these, women of more than 65% families are now well aware of dreadful impact of HIV/AIDS & its precautionary measures, vaccinations for them, breast feeding and nutrition. There was a flow of information and awareness seen from these aware women to adolescent girls and other women of their area. The outcome of this awareness among women was very effective. Out of 4500 girls of these 100 slums 2800 adolescent are now aware of their health issues requiring attention & care like TT vaccination, nutrition, iron pills and are in taking them regularly.

When we talk about women empowerment Self Help Groups (SHGs) plays major role in empower our women. Self-Help Group refers to self-governed, peer controlled, informal group of people with same socio-economic background and having a desire to collectively perform common purposes. Here people voluntarily come together to save whatever amount they can save conveniently out of their earnings, to mutually agree to contribute to a common fund and to lend to the members for meeting their productive and emergent needs. The group comprises of 10 to 12 women in each group.

We always focused on strengthening this group of women. In 15 slums more than 70 new SHGs were formed engaging saving of 711 women and their account opening. A new approach is followed among SHGs. Area Level Federation is a new group formed comprising of 2 women of each SHG of the slum with limit of 30 women in a group. These ALF’s provide assistance to SHGs and help them taking various initiatives. Various initiatives likes registering complain and raising voice against issues faced in their areas with complete procedure and process. The success rate of these initiatives was seen.

 Women Groups have expressed their thanks and happiness towards our initiatives and approaches for them. They believe that our approach and initiatives taken have helped in making them independent, empowered and have brought this behaviour change in them as well as their society. 

Aug 5, 2016

Supporting Adolescent Girls to form their own wing

Adolescent Girl Group meeting.
Adolescent Girl Group meeting.

Leadership development among adolescent girls is part of our Saloni Model aiming at holistic empowerment of them in slums of Lucknow. Formation of Adolescent Girls Groups (AGGs), building their skills & abilities, engaging them in participatory planning & behavioural change communication, facilitating their access to public service provisions are part of our process to build leadership among them.

During this quarter, 53 adolescent girls received 3 days training on Citizen Voice & Actions (CVA), focused on their rights & entitlements, community development issues such as water sanitation, hygiene, public service provision and coordination with government service providers and collective actions. After this training adolescent girls have grouped them in a team to address the issues such as education, reproductive health, security, early marriage, hygiene and other issues affecting them. They are identifying children out of schools and facilitating them for enrolment and regular attendance in schools. It is encouraging to note that adolescent girls themselves are playing a lead role in ending child marriages in their own ways. The story given here provides insight in this.

Akhbar Nagar large slum has strong Adolescent Girl Groups developed under the project. Nisha, 16 year old, is member of this group. She was upset with the discussions going on in her family about her marriage. She wanted to continue and complete her education. She came up with an idea and requested her group members for conducting next meeting at her home. She thought it might influence her parents. Group conducted its meeting twice at her place. In first meeting, they discussed and planned on community issues such as sanitation, hygiene etc. Nisha’s parents were also watching and listening the proceedings of the group meeting. It impressed them. In the second meeting, the group brought the agenda of child marriage and started a discussion on the risks, disadvantages, legalities related to child marriage. Nisha’s parents and family members were also listening to the discussion going on. It motivated them to postpone the marriage and wait for the right time when their daughter completes her education. Nisha is a happy girl today and is studying in class 12th. She always thanks her group and the project for this change in her as well her family member’s lives.”

There are various examples which reflect on the change adolescent girls are witnessing due to this project. Re-enrolment of adolescent girls in schools, postponing of marriages, influencing the decision at family and community levels, accessing government services, communication of their issues are the areas of change emerging in slums covered under this project.

The project, despite, severe fund challenges is making its way to reach out the communities to bring the change. Your donation will make it easy to bring the change among adolescent girls.

May 26, 2016

Women Changing themselves, their families and wider community

Women living in slums suffer in multiple ways:-discriminatory social behaviors, early marriages, domestic violence, poverty and lack of basic facilities like health, water, sanitation. Keeping their existing position and conditions in view, Sarathi is implementing Saloni model in 400 slums of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh one of the gender critical states. Sarathi is positioning them through integrated slum planning based on their needs & issues, organizing them into groups for self advocacy  and collective initiatives, building their capacities  through basic life skill classes, developing them as community volunteers and building linkages with government service provisions and vocational training opportunities.

Global Giving partnership support helps us for capacity building and community level facilitation support to women groups, adolescent girls groups and community volunteers for behavior change communication, preventing early girls marriages, encouraging education among adolescent girls and linkages with government service provisions. Women groups and community volunteers are playing lead role in preventing early girls marriages before attaining legal age of 18 years, enrollment of continuing education of girls, influencing service deliveries of the government in their slums. Basic life skills on participation and communication tools, decision making,  women rights, legal literacy, reproductive health, education, nutrition, early marriage risks and law, government service provisions hygienic behaviors like  safe menstrual hygiene, hand wash at critical timings have built their confidence and   abilities  leading to change among them, their families and wider community.  Women are also linked with vocational training institutes for learning livelihood skills. 150 women have received such vocation training.   

Ms. Manju (42 years), a woman community volunteer residing in Choti Jugauli, cooks food in a girl’s hostel for earning her livelihood. She did her schooling up to 8th standard and has interest in working for the community.She actively participates in any of the processes that can make the community aware of their rights and entitlements.The level of her efforts can be understood from the fact that she has provided space in her small house for the running of the community resource centre (CRC) for the drop out adolescent girls of the locality. Here, the girls are provided training on life skills, behavior change, mobility, health, rights, empowerment, etc.Her husband Ashok Baudh was impressed by the works done by her and starting supporting her efforts. The men around, also started taking interest and they learnt how to get their own work done. It all resulted into the resolution of the issues that are being faced by the community in Choti Jugauli since decades. For instance, the water tanks are installed at various places to ensure three time water supply. The community is motivated to get toilets constructed at their homes and shed open defecation. The adolescent girls with her support wrote a letter to the Municipal Corporation for garbage cleaning and discharge of drain water. The work is being done in this direction to the satisfaction of the community.  

Ms. Shanno (48 years), a mother of two daughters and a son, is residing in Luvkush Nagar, a slum of Lucknow. Her socially conscious attitude got a platform when she was trained under the capacity development programme organized by the Sarathi for community volunteers. After the training she gained more confidence to work with larger community. Gradually she started holding regular meetings with the community and making them aware on various issues like girls education, early child marriage.  This all raised the status of Shanno as community leader. The women and the adolescent girls around who were sitting idle got inspiration from her and have started supporting Shanno in her community work. Shanno’s two daughters had dropped out of school after 8th standard and their marriage was being planned. They wanted to start going to schools again. Shanno discussed her husband and family members. She succeeded in convincing them to drop the marriage agenda.As a consequence of this, her both daughters are now going to schools. There is a visible change in other families also across the community. They are supporting their daughters for continuing education. The adolescent girls here are being trained on vocational skills also.

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