Community based event organised by SriJan
It’s My Body
Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Adolescent Girls through Sports
(December, 2015 - February, 2016)
The last three months have been particularly significant for the It’s My Body programme that CREA is implementing in collaboration with 13 partner organisations across the three states of Jharkhand, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. In the last three months, CREA actively reached out to other networks, groups and organisations and participated in workshops, consultations and meetings for young people to strengthen the role of girls in advocacy.
CREA organised its first SELF Academy from 20 December 2015 to 4 January 2016 for 50 young girls from Jharkhand. The SELF Academy is a residential skills building and leadership development academy that uses sports, art, media and technology to help them realise their full potential. The SELF Academy held in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand included courses in computer, spoken English, football, film and media, art, community radio, theatre and comics. The idea behind using a variety of media was to not only introduce the girls to certain ‘skills’ but to also allow them to choose from various forms and languages of expression, and to eventually help them develop their own. These courses were designed with the faculty to encourage and enable the participants to think, reflect and share their thoughts and opinions about issues related to their body, well-being, desire, mobility and rights.
In the month of December, four facilitators and seven adolescent girls associated with three partner CBOs (based in Uttar Pradesh) participated in the State Level consultation organised by the YP Foundation in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. The consultation titled, Current Landscape and Opportunities for Youth-led Advocacy on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Uttar Pradesh, centered efforts and experiences of young people in the area(s) of SRHR where young people not only speak and listen to each other but also attempt to tie their work with spaces for advocacy and policy formulation.
Sandhya from Gramonnati Sansthan (CREA’s partner organisation in Mahoba, Uttar Pradesh) shared her experience of being part of the IMB programme since 2012 at the consultation. She said that she has gained the confidence and courage to ask questions. “As a girl, who comes from an SC background, I am thrilled to have received the opportunity to be here and it is all because of the confidence I have gained through the course of the programme. Girls are not given any freedom. They are always told,’kuch ho jayega’ (something might happen). I ask them what is it that they are perpetually scared of, what will happen! When I was in class 10, my father asked me to stop studying. I actively confronted him. My mother supported me.”
Young girls associated with CREA and its partner organisations in Uttar Pradesh(Sakar, Mahila Swarozgar Samiti and Gramonnati Sansthan), also spoke about different stakeholders that they had to engage and negotiate with in order to access SRHR related information and services. It was the first time that adolescent girls, associated with the programme, got an opportunity to share their experience in front of a wide range of audience that includes policy makers, government officials, civil society professionals and other youth members.
“I was drawn into the IMB programme, where girls are initiated into discussions on SRHR issues through sports (particularly football). I was excited at the possibility of learning a new game that is otherwise associated with boys.” – Tanu, Sakar, Bareily, Uttar Pradesh.
Speaking about the strategies used under the It’s My Body programme; Avantika (Facilitator, Mahila Swarozgar Samiti, Varanasi, and Uttar Pradesh) shared that:
“We get the girls to play sports (in this programme). Not just any sport but especially those that are thought to be associated primarily with boys. So, our girls don’t play kabaddi and kho kho (games associated usually with girls). They play football and cricket. And since it is a challenging programme, we work at three levels- with the girls, their families/parents, community at large and health service providers.”
In the month of January, CREA and its partner organisations, celebrated the National Girl Child Day (24th January) with great enthusiasm. 11 large scale public events were organised across the three states that were facilitated and steered by young girls who are a part of the programme. Approximately 1000 people from the community attended these events. All-girl football tournaments are organised as part of these events. These events were organised to give a platform to young girls to raise awareness in their community around issues that are related to rights of women and adolescent girls. The young girls engage in a range of issues during these events- for example, safety concerns, participation of girls in sports, education of girls, gender based discrimination, gender roles and norms and accessibility of girls to health services. These events not only aim at increasing the awareness of community members on the aforementioned issues, but also have a significant impact on the confidence level of the participating girls as they independently facilitate and organise these events in the community.
During these three months, CREA and the partner CBOs also organised 7 sports camps to strengthen the skills of adolescent girls on football. In addition to this, CREA with support from its eight partner CBOs organised 3 Leadership development camps with a cohort of 79 adolescent girls.
Sports Camps were organised to strengthen the skills of adolescent girls on football and also increase the visibility of girls playing football in the village. Approximately 280 adolescent girls participated in these sports camps. As a part of the programme, the young girls, get continuous inputs, over a period of ten months, on playing football and technicalities related to the sport. In addition to these inputs, a two day sports coaching camp is organised in collaboration with each partner organisation wherein professional football coaches (from Soccer Foundation) travel to the villages and train a selective cohort of 40 girls on football. The first day of the camp aims at providing focused technical inputs to girls around playing football. And an all-girls football tournament is organised on the second day of the camp. Participating in these camps has not only increased the confidence level of these young girls but by involving community members, it has resulted creating an enabling environment for these young girls.
“When I was in school, often I used to observe that boys used to play football. And although I wanted to run around and play football, but it was not allowed for girls to play the sports in school. But after I got in became a part of the collective, I got a chance to play football. Now I regularly attend the session meetings and play football.” – Anjali, Mission Kishori Samooh, Nari Nidhi, Muzaffarpur, Bihar.
CREA and its eight partner organisations, organised 3 Leadership Development Camps for a select cohort of 79 girl leaders from Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. These camps were organised for a selective cohort of young girls from the second batch after they completed the training on the curriculum. The five day residential camp focused on taking the young participants on a journey of self-reflection and aimed at providing a safe space to girls so that they could explore their strengths, speak about the challenges and their aspirations.
“When I came to this camp, I didn’t know that I will get to learn so much. I also got the space to learn to talk about the pleasant-unpleasant memories of my life. Earlier I used to think that it is very difficult to achieve my dream & aspirations but after coming to this camp, I feel more confident and feel that I can fulfill my dreams.” – Karina, Damini Kishori Samooh, Lok Prerna Kendra, Chatra, Jharkhand.
“I am very happy that I got to learn new things here. People in my community always try to snub and stop us from achieving our dreams. Having recognised that, now, I don’t pay much attention to what the community members say. I made a lot of friends here.” – Sangita, Nayi Asha Kishori Samooh.
In January and February 2016, trainers and young girl’s leaders from CREA’s partner organisations in U.P, Bihar and Jharkhand further participated in external forums to share their experiences of being part of this programme.
In January 2016, four trainers and 1 young girl leader participated in the Adolescent Girls Learning Community event organised by EMpower in Mumbai on 28 January 2016.The Adolescent Girls Learning Community in Mumbai is a network of girl change makers who are working in 10 wards of Mumbai to lead change in their own communities; to prevent gender-based restrictions, discrimination and violence. The adolescent girl leaders shared how they have conceptualised, executed and measured the impact of community interventions around the issue of Public Safety, Mobility and Restrictions. Participating in this event has been a huge learning experience for the trainers and girl leaders. CREA will work with them to see how some of the strategies and ideas can influence the ongoing work with adolescent and young girls.
In February 2016, trainers from three partner organisations along with CREA co-facilitated a session on: Working with young girls and women on sexuality at CREA’s 10th Sexuality, Gender and Rights Institute. This session was planned at the Institute to introduce the participants of the Institute to practical and strategic ways if working with young girls on Sexuality, Gender and Rights at the community level.
The last three months have been full of opportunities, learnings and exploring new ideas of work for CREA and its partner organisations.
Sports Camp organised by Nari Nidhi
Sports Camp organised by Nurture Trust
Sports Camp organised by Akansha Seva Sadan
Sports Camp organised by Gaurav Grameen Sansthan
Sports camp organised by Nari Nidhi