'Ab Meri Baari' girl champions interact with front line health workers, community leaders, government representatives, NGOs and other adolescents for collective effort in Jharkhand
RANCHI, India, Sept. 26, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- On Tuesday, over 60 girl champions presented a charter of ten bold recommendations to government representatives, front line health workers, community
Below is the charter of 10 bold recommendations prepared by the girl champions:
While appreciating girl champions, Nitin Kulkarni, Secretary of Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Jharkhand said, "The information and data which has come out of Ab Meri Baari initiative is a learning for us. This information reflects true picture at village level which is important for us. We will try that the gaps identified by the girl champions are filled and immediate action is taken on the same. On the basis of the feedback given by you, we will try to change the outlines of our programs and make the necessary additions if required."
Dr Shailesh Kumar Chaurasia, MD, NHM, Jharkhand said, "I highly appreciate this effort by girl champions of Ab Meri Baari. This has helped us to understand how different government schemes are getting delivered to citizens and what experiences people have at a village-level."
Kumari Kruti, a girl champion from Simdega, said, "While conducting interviews for the scorecards, we got the opportunity to interact with government officials and front line health workers who ensure the delivery of adolescent focused programs and schemes. It allowed us to understand their point of view and provide them recommendations for improvement of service delivery through collective action."
Kumari Shempo, a girl champion from Deoghar, said, "Prior to the scorecard exercise, I've never had the opportunity to engage with the Child Development Project Officer (C.D.P.O.). Through the scorecard, I could discuss and voice my challenges. I gained extensive details on all my questions and had an engaging conversation related to health and nutrition."
The recommendations from the girl champions come at a crucial time as the government representatives recognize the high rates of teenage pregnancies and child marriages in Jharkhand as a cause for concern. National Family Health Survey (NFHS) data shows that 17.8% of adolescent girls in Jharkhand got married before the legal age, higher than the national average of 11.9%. Young mothers and girls who are married before 18 are at a high risk of violence, deprivation, malnutrition and death related to childbirth. The children born to young mothers also have lower chances of survival.
Amit Ghosh, Program Manager, Child in Need Institute (CINI), said, "The challenges faced by Jharkhand's adolescents cut across many social issues. The social audit data obtained from 63 villages highlight a need for schools, primary health care centers, local governing bodies and communities to be well equipped for improvement in Sexual and Reproductive Health rights (SRHR). This can be made possible by creating collaborations across government departments, NGOs and experts."
Byomkesh Lall, Senior Program Manager, Centre for Catalyzing Change (C3), said, "In Jharkhand, there is a tradition of women being active participants in their own empowerment. The 'Ab Meri Baari' girl champions are staying true to this tradition and are excellent role models within the community."
The first stop in the bus tour was Gumla where the girl champions interacted with local Zilla Parishad Head, and over 100 participants including community leaders, adolescents and non-governmental organizations. From here, the bus travelled to Simdega where girl champions met with local dignitaries including Pramod Sinha, Civil Surgeon, Pushpa Kullu, member of Simdega Nagar Parishad among others. On Tuesday, the bus reached Ranchi for the final stop in Jharkhand, before leaving for Uttar Pradesh.
The recommendations in the charter are based on the scorecards and resource mapping of adolescent-focused schemes and services such as Rakshtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK), Menstrual Hygiene Scheme (MHS) and Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) in 63 villages of Jharkhand's Simdega, Saraikela, Dumka, Gumla, Deoghar and Lohardaga districts. Total 63 social audits were gathered and collated in August and September 2019. The data and recommendations presented by girls are based on a small sample size and are subjective based on perceptions of girl champions and community stakeholders.
These 60 girl champions will further train 300 other girl champions based on the skills learned by them under the 'Ab Meri Baari' campaign. These skills include assessing government services, engaging with different stakeholders, interviewing for scorecards, public speaking, analysing data and presenting recommendations to their local administration, and working on implementing these recommendations in partnership with relevant people.
Highlights of the scorecard findings
Qualitative analysis of girls-led scorecards revealed areas of improvement in the delivery of social programs which can have direct implications in improving key development indicators related to health, nutrition and gender equality in Jharkhand
Sexual Rights Health Rights and health
Sanitation and Menstrual Hygiene Management
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About Ab Meri Baari
Started in March 2019, the Ab Meri Baari campaign is an effort to bring adolescent issues to the forefront and drive conversations around their sexual and reproductive health, safety, education, nutrition - factors that contribute to their holistic growth and well-being. The Ab Meri Baari campaign will grow towards a nationwide initiative to build awareness on adolescent priorities.
In the first phase, the campaign activities focus in Jharkhand and Rajasthan. The campaign activities are primarily executed by 60+ girl champions with the support of non-governmental organization that include Aravali, Centre for Catalyzing Change, Child in Need Institute, Dasra, Magic Bus, Praxis, Quest Alliance among others. These girl champions were trained to assess government services in their respective villages, engage with their peers, communities and service providers, conduct social audits, prepare recommendations and work with their local administrations to take these forward collaboratively.
Dasra, meaning 'enlightened giving' in Sanskrit, is a pioneering strategic philanthropic organization that aims for a transformed India where a billion thrive with dignity and equity. Since its inception in 1999, Dasra has accelerated social change by driving collaborative action through powerful partnerships among a trust-based network of stakeholders (corporates, foundations, families, non-profits, social businesses, government and media). Over the years, Dasra has engaged with 500 philanthropists, corporates and foundations, published 22 research reports in diverse fields and directed over US$34 Million in strategic funding to the sector. For more information, please visit: https://www.dasra.org/.
Media Contact :
Sukanksha Khatrisukanksha@dasra.org +91-9167441808 Team Lead, Dasra