Working towards Beti Bachao Beti Padhao – Team Visit to Jhajjar
Centre for Social Research (CSR) is a nodal agency for Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) Government of India. The organization established five Community Watch Groups (CWGs) in the bottom five sex ratio villages of Jhajjar (Haryana) last year. In 2015, the sex ratio of 18 districts in Haryana stood at 900 girls per 1000 boys, a high benchmark for the state given its history. However, it has again reported to have dwindled to abysmal levels by the end of the first quarter of 2016 in some districts. Hence, there is a felt need to renew CSR’s work in those districts which reported a regression in numbers and among them, the Jhajjar district has been included. The organization, with the support from the Asia Foundation, has a plan for nurturing three of the five Community Watch Groups (CWGs) that were established last year, and to conduct PRI trainings for engagement of men and boys in the discussions and debates around sex selection issue.
In preparation for the CWG handholding meetings and the proposed PRI training in Jhajjar; In the month of June 2016, Dr. Manasi Mishra, Colleen Bartlett and Elizabeth Reno from CSR traveled to the Jhajjar Mini Secretariat to meet the District Appropriate Authority (DAA) and the District Programme Officer (ICDS), who are in-charge of implementing ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao”. The team discussed CSR’s objectives with Ms. Neena Khatri (DPO ICDS) in order to orient her on the project implementation and present to her last year’s Activity Report, for propel action for PRI training and mentoring of CWG. Ms. Khatri was supportive of CSR’s work and approved three dates to conduct CWG handholding meetings – Jahangirpur on 5th July, Madana Kalan on 11th July, and Noona Majra on 15th July 2016. Having said that, she did voice her limitations in conducting the PRI Training and directed the team to meet the District Development Programme Officer (DDPO).
The ADC, Dr. Narhari Singh Banger was met and briefed about the project objectives. Dr. Mishra submitted the Activity Report of the District & the Intent letter to Dr. Banger, who was appreciative of CSR effort and gave approval. He invited Dr. Mishra and team to a meeting of Self-Help Groups (SHGs) with many of the urban women leaders at the Jhajjar Panchayat Bhawan. He invited Dr. Mishra to the meeting and deliver a few words on Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Initiative.
The meeting was attended by more than 100 men and women, primarily from the Gram Panchayats and Self-Help groups. After a brief introduction Dr. Mishra spoke on the dire status of sex selection in Jhajjar, the need for BBBP implementation, the PC&PNDT Act, and CSR’s strategies of establishing CWGs in lowest sex ratio villages to bring about community ownership of the issue. Dr. Mishra explained about some of the IEC materials to the participants based on the PC/PNDT Act, schemes for girl children in Haryana and BBBP theme. The ADC and other dignitaries also highlighted the importance of SHGs, their roles and responsibilities in addressing the issues of BBBP and Swachh Bharat Mission – for which the meeting was conducted. Ms. Elizabeth Reno encouraged the participants to join in the drive of Beti Bachao which was applauded by them. Dr. Mishra then led the women in a round of pledging against sex selection.
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