Menstrual hygiene management is very less talked topic among adolescent girls. Inadequate knowledge on menstrual hygiene, lack of puberty education, social norms restricting communication with in families, existing practices like use of used clothes & unsafe martials upset girls and women and them to experience menstruation as shameful and uncomfortable. Project addressed this issue in slums through life skill education classes for adolescent girls in age group of 10-19 years, participatory learning sessions with girls, women community volunteers and household level behaviour change communication through the volunteers. It has also been part of slum level action plan containing girls, women and community development issues. Social and behaviour change communication processes initiated under the project in 100 slums in Lucknow are contributing in enhancing space of adolescent girls in their families. Adolescent girls groups bringing 2000 girls together and 400 community volunteers developed under the project are actively engaged in behaviour change communication on sending girls to school, menstrual hygiene management, use of the toilets, prevention of child & early marriage through household visits and community meetings. It has started to demonstrate the impact on girls, women, their family and wider community members across the slums covered under the project.
Sapna who was 13 years old when she has menstrual cycle for first time, she didn’t got upset or undulate and told about this to her mother, which insisted her to use cloth for this problem which she completely refused, as it was told to her during the Adolescent girls group meeting that use of cloth is unsafe and unhygienic thus she demanded for Sanitary Pads, her mother didn’t had money at that time so she bought it by her own saving, she is now 16 years old and studying in class 10th, she also shared the importance of using sanitary napkins with all other adolescent girls of same age group in her school.
During the period from October 2017 to January 2018, we conducted participatory learning sessions focussed on menstrual hygiene, protection of girls form child & early marriage and encouraging girls education in 100 slums. It covered 1768 adolescent girls, 838 women, 220 slum community volunteers Slum action plans developed in 100 slums incorporating girls and community development issues like out of school girls, immunisation of children and girls, need of toilets, safe drinking water, use of sanitary pad for safe menstrual hygiene management were updated. Behaviour change maps showing household wise behavioural application status were updated. These tools facilitate the community volunteers and adolescent girls groups to assess the changes on indicators as mentioned above in their slums. Data emerged from the slums these tools indicate that 121 out of school girls started to go to schools, 863 girls using sanitary pads for safe menstrual hygiene management, 1867 and their families accessing and using toilets, 1006 families practicing hand wash with soap at critical timings like after using toilets, 505 girls immunised. These successes emerging from community are attributed to adolescent girl’s groups and community volunteers developed in slums with project and your continued Global Giving.
Manisha, Community Volunteer lives in Makdum Nagar slum in project area. Under Saloni project she became a community volunteer and started participating actively in adolescent girls group meeting and other community level activities, with support of Saloni project she got vocational training on tailoring. It made her to start training centre for other girls from her community; she also approached a private school in her slum area and started working as a teacher, she is now self-dependent and supports financially to her family and also helping her younger sister in continuing her studies. She is very much thankful to Saloni project supporter sand Sarathi Development Foundation for this immense support and guidance and turning around her life to a new meaning.
Child marriage is a major issue affecting life pattern for adolescent girls. It is a local, national and global issue. Our partnership with GlobalGiving is addressing this as priority issue of adolescent girls Sonam is 15 years old living in Rampur slum of Lucknow. She learnt risks of early marriage, rights of girls, communication skills through life skill education provided under the project. She has been regularly participating in adolescent girls group and community volunteers meetings. She heard the discussions in her family about her marriage. She did not want to be tied up with marriage like responsibilities at this age and wanted to continue education and learning to shape her life. She shared her learning about risks of marriage with her parents. She also told her parents about the law that marriage before legal age of 18 years is a crime. Community volunteer also visited Sonam,s parents house for counselling on risks and legal issues related to child marriage. Sonam is happy as parents have agreed to postpone the marriage. It has set the example for other girls and families.
Our project in partnership with GlobalGiving is empowering adolescent girls by providing platforms for their participation & communication on their issues, encouraging education, building life & vocational skills, changing behaviours of parents and community towards girls. Our strategies like formation of adolescent girls groups, integrated slum planning on girls & community needs, life skill sessions with adolescent girls & women, engaging community volunteers for behavioural change communication at household level and feedback to public service providers like school teachers, health workers, local governance institutions. These processes are leading to growing number of adolescent girls in schools, their immunisation, prevention of early planned marriages, participation of adolescent girls in vocational training courses. Change in mind set of parents towards girls can also be seen. It is reflected in adolescent girls participating in group & community meetings, updating slum action plans, visiting service providers, attending life skill sessions and conducting household visits for behaviour change communication among parents.Community volunteers including both women and men are supporting adolescent girls on their issues like education, mobility, early marriage and facilaiting access to government service provisions like immunisation, enrolment in schools. During the reporting period from July to September 2017, project benefitted 1592 adolescent girls spreading over 90 slums in Lucknow through life skill sessions, adolescent girls groups meetings, community health counselling camps, orientation on vocational skill development opportunities.Households visits and women groups meetings were conducted with a focus on behaviour change communication issues such as sending girls to schools, risks of early girl marriage, sanitation and hygiene practices like use of toilets, hand wash with soap at critical timings, use of sanitary pads for menstrual hygiene management.
We thank you for your continued support for making life of adolscent girls better in slums.
We express our sincere thanks to all our donors and partners for supporting our project to bring change among adolscent girls, their families and wider community.
Change in attitude and behaviours towards adolescent girls has been the major success of the project. It is very reflected in enhanced mobility and continued education of girls, reduction in marriages below 18 years ( legal age) in the slums covered under the project. The girls in Guljar Nagar slum of Lucknow district express that “community volunteers developed under the project have worked hard to motivate their parents for allowing the girls to participate in life skill sessions, continuing their education, communicating with the outsiders coming to their slums for their development. As a result of this, change in life pattern of girls can be seen. Most of the girls are completing their education up 12th standard and planning to continue. These girls want to be the community volunteers for the girl of their community.They want to give back to the community what they have received.
”Shama, 34 year old community volunteer of this slum is happy to see the impact on girls in her slum. She feels that project has provided this opportunity to her to do this most meaningful work.Community volunteers selected from within the community, household visits, counselling and community mobilisation activities gradually brought the change in their attitude and behaviours. The project has created wave of this change across the 100 slums covered under the project.
While building favourable environment and creating opportunities for girls, project is engaging wider community through slum planning on .local issues like safe water, mother child health & nutrition, sanitation & hygiene. The project developed collaborations with vocational training providers for vocational skill development of adolescent girls and women to enhance their capacities for livelihood and employment.233 adolescent girls were registered for skill development on various trades like beautician course, repairing of electric and solar items during this quarter.