On 27th May 2016, CSR conducted a first of its kind training of the newly-elected Panchayat members including the Sarpanch, Numberdar & Panch members in the Meeting hall of the Mini Secretariat, Gurgaon. It was geared specifically toward training Panchayati Raj Members of their roles & responsibilities in the implementation of the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao programme in their respective villages. It is pertinent to mention here that the PRI members of 10 lowest sex ratio villages were invited specifically to participate in the training in cooperation with the District Appropriate Authority (DAA), Gurgaon. In all, around 87 PRI members attended the training, with over two-thirds of them being men.
Both men & women PRI members of ten lowest sex ratio villages of Gurgaon participated in the training on BBBP. To provide a brief background, CSR, being chosen as the nodal agency by the Ministry of Women & Child Development (MWCD), Government of India have been instrumental in implementing BBBP plans, programmes and activities as envisioned in the Programme document since past one year in five gender critical districts of Haryana namely Ambala, Kurukshetra, Gurgaon, Jhajjar & Mahendragarh. Under its banner, several programmes had been conducted in the year 2015 including establishment of Community forums at urban and rural areas, ASHA/Anganwadi workers Trainings, involvement of youth through street play and photography competitions, a two-day Dialogue on BBBP involving all the stakeholders, etc. But, since the PRI election in the state was due for a long time and the process completed only in January 2016, their training on BBBP is to be conducted.
The ADC, Gurgaon Shri Vinay Pratap Singh spearheaded in sending across the message to all the PRI members in participating the training as the district authorities are also well-aware about its significance. He was present on the occasion to address the PRI members, and to encourage them in their impeding roles in their respective villages. Gram Sachiv, Panch, and Sarpanch members were in attendance from Kankrola, Janaula, Chitrola, Daulatabad, Bajghera, Kherla, Bhondsi, Nanukalan, Jharsa, Rathiwas and Sidhrawali. All members agreed they came and were eager to learn about BBBP to do their best in its implementation. The ADC confirmed the shameful situation in Haryana—an incredibly low sex ratio despite its overall highly developed state of affairs as the NCR region.
It’s a well-known saying that while the boys are off studying, the girls remain only at home. Boys are welcome to go out, play, and enjoy themselves, while girls are expected to stay in and help their mothers at home. The ADC cited a survey that says 30% of MNC employees are women working in cyber economy and various other fields. He also said that in the board examinations of the 10th and 12th classes, girls are always been top scores on CBSE results. But, they’ve not been permitted to continue their studies and that reflects in their low work force participation rate. The ADC asserted that equal rights begin at home. There is no use to working only outside the home to create equality if it does not already exist inside the family. Denying girls life is a crime, a murder in which we are all complicit.
The ADC encouraged the PRI members to make the most of the opportunity they have to serve their villages and society, by looking out for the women who are pregnant and reporting any abuses or crimes to the appropriate authorities. Stopping these crimes is a group effort in which we all must work together.
He also shared a story in which he had interviewed a young girl for a year-long position under the CMO. She was from Rewari, from a well-off family who were staying in Delhi. When asked why she wanted this job, she responded that she had faced discrimination at home, and wanted to work in Haryana to show her family that she was no less than a son. She wanted to prove that she could do what she set her mind to, and change the mentality of her parents towards her. The ADC added that if a girl has support, she can do whatever she wants to, and no one can stop her.
Dr. Manasi Mishra, Head of Research Division at CSR, also gave a presentation for the training purpose regarding the PRI’s roles in implementing BBBP. The focussed IEC materials developed by CSR were distributed among the participants, and Dr. Mishra referred to each of the IEC material as and when she described their roles and responsibilities as elected members of village in addressing declining sex ratio. She pointed out that we all worship women goddesses but forget about our own girls. People in Haryana have food, nice clothes and homes, even two cars per households, but there is no daughter. People give stupid reasons such as dowry, property, money, big wedding expenses, and other reasons for not wanting daughters. Mahendragarh has the lowest sex ratio in the country with 775 girls per 1000 boys compared next to Manesar Tehsil in Gurgaon which has only 776 girls per 1000 boys, but nobody is willing to speak about it. In Mahendragarh, there are about 13-14 villages which had no girls born from 2013-2015. Dr. Mishra challenged the mark of true development when such “advanced” and “developed” regions have so few girls compared to boys and have failed measurably in social indicators. While so called ‘backward’ states have better sex ratio. Ultrasound centers and technology have increased in India, but people misuse it for their own benefit.
Dr. Mishra also explained to the PRI members the significance and the functionality of the Guddi-Gudda Boards, which are meant to publicly display the number of girls and boys born in either the Chaupal or central place of the village. She voiced her concern that since the Guddi-Gudda boards are now placed within Anganwadi centres which is frequented by females and children only, it is loosing its role in engaging men and boys of the villages in drawing their attention towards declining sex ratio. She encouraged PRI members to also seek the help of police, teachers, health workers, the Panchayat, Block officers, and others to monitor illegal health practitioners/quacks roaming scot-free in villages with palmtops promising sex determination tests and encourage villagers to keep their girl children.
She shared another story about a family that had four sons and one daughter. When the father had a major accident and the sons moved into other areas, the daughter was left to care for her bed-ridden father, perform household tasks, as well as manage the family farm. She along with her studies, managed the farms so well that the family made a good profit. She pointed out that these type of case studies need to be highlighted. Girls have the capacity to do whatever they set their minds to, but they need to be given opportunity, encouragement, and support. They need to be given life.
Many of the PRI members showed keen interest in placing the GUddi-Gudda Board at the central place of their villages and also to conduct awreness trainings through community intervention. CSR will be following up with many of the PRI members, who were eager to learn and do more for their communities.
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