October-December 2018: The project has identified 144 change agents from 155 villages in Rajasthan and 132 change agents from 78 villages in Uttar Pradesh. They will be trained to build their perspective and understanding on women's rights.
October & December 2018: Following the inception workshop, the cluster coordinators mobilized the community to carry forward discussions with community members along with certain panchayat representatives to understand the issues in the villages. These discussions focused on the education of the girl child, inequality in access to health services, gender inequality at birth, information on government schemes and services. In November, 115 community meetings were held in which a total of 1334 women, 552 men, 106 anganwadi staff and 69 representatives from the panchayat were present.
November 2018: In order to instill the understanding of child rights in children and also to work on the issue of child rights itself, a program on child rights was initiated in 32 government schools that reached out to 5039 participants (2117 boys, 2581 girls and 141 teachers). The issues that were raised for discussion were the Rights to education, better health services, play, mobility and the right to live. A child rights rally was also organized with the participation of school children.
October- December 2018: Community meetings were held in the villages where formal groups had not been formed. These meetings included discussions on GBSS, gender inequality, gender-based violence. Issues around widow pension, ration card etc. were discussed in the meetings with panchayat and ward members. These meetings and an additional 46 focus groups discussions were held in 7 villages of Bhagara, 16 villages of Charathwal and 9 villages of Purkazi with participation of 323 women, 75 girls and 66 Men and issues on education of the girl child, gender discrimination, health and violence against women were taken up. Meetings were also held with potential change agents and by the end of November, the project staff identified and selected 132 change agents from 78 villages.
14th October 2018: The first day of the inception workshop began with an overview of the project where ActionAid took all the participants through the background of the project, its objectives, strategies and result areas in order to orient the project team. The discussion continued with the presentations by the partners from Muzaffarnagar (Astitva) and Karauli (AMIED) who explained the results of the situational analysis that had been conducted along with the challenges that they encountered.
15th October: The day began with a detailed participatory exercise where the project team was divided into two groups, one for each location. These groups were asked to deliberate on the objectives, outputs and indicators that had been previously explained and were asked to come up with a few specific patriarchal issues from within the communities that they had already surveyed.
Identified Issues (UP) - Discrimination at the time of birth, Biases in the education of the girl child, Nutritional intake biases, Lack of participation of women in leadership and at the institutional level, child marriage and stigmatization during menstrual cycle.
Similar issues were identified w.r.t Karauli (Rajasthan) as well including Wedding traditions and customs that are aimed towards hamulating and subjugating women and lack of participation of men in household chores and unpaid work
16th October: On the final day of the workshop, the project team was given an orientation of the program management structure including the roles of and responsibilities of the block coordinator, cluster coordinators and change agents.
Ye Kahaani Badalni Hai started in the month of August in Karauli district of Rajasthan and Muzaffarnagar District in Uttar Pradesh . The project will be covering 400 villages under 25 clusters across the two districts with the support of 800 village level change agents.
Current Activities Completed:
Muzzafarnagar (Uttar Pradesh) & Karauli (Rajasthan)
1. Selection of Project Staff: 12 cluster coordinators and 1 block coordinator were selected as project staff in Muzaffarnagar & Karauli. The Program Officer and the partner Astitva (UP) and AMIED (Raj) were involved in this selection process.
2. Field visit and community meetings by programme officer : The programme officer carried out visits to Saithpura and Buccha Basti (Purkazi block,UP) and 11 villages of Karauli and Hindon (Raj.) where women and girls expressed their issues - particularly child marriage, gender discrimination, low wages and irregular work
3. Orientation of appointed project staff on YKBH processes
4. Field visits by Cluster coordinators (3 blocks Baghara, Charthawal and Purkazi) : Meetings were carried out with the Aanganwadi workers, Aashas, School staff and Village Pardhans for the collection of information and introductions to the program staff. The staff also recognized some as potential change agents.On the other side, training on situational analysis and allocation to each team was organized at Karauli office (Raj)
5. Village Meetings: 311 women, 21 girls and 46 Men participated in village level meetings in 3 blocks (UP) where issues like Girl education, Gender inequality, Domestic violence were discussed and form groups of adolescent girls & women
With an objective to focus on shifting gender discriminatory attitudes, norms and practices through a cadre of community based change agents and using Information and Communication Technologies as a facilitating tool to drive this change, Yeh Kahani Badalni Hai (changing the gender story/narrative) has now been signed, with Action Aid as the implementation partner. The project will be implemented in 200 villages each of Rajasthan and UP from Sept 2018 to July 2020. The project will be capturing stories and gender concerns of the people on the ground and building their capacities to recognise these concerns and take steps to address them, gradually dismantling attitudes, perceptions, practices and beliefs that promote discrimination.
In popular discourse, the general tendency is to address outward manifestations of gender inequality such as violence against women, without questioning the root of such manifestations. Such questioning needs facilitation, reflection and collective thinking for minds to change. Therefore a mechanism is needed to empower communities and men with a voice and an alternative discourse, so that when amplified this collective voice will be transformative in achieving gender equality and begin to change practices such as son preference. The 'Yeh Kahani Badalni Hai' project aims to build capacities of the communities to use ICT to address gender discrimination by enabling reflection on complex issues in the states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.