Innovation: To promote community participation for behavioural change
Location: 141 Programmes conducted across the District in 14 Blocks at the Gram Panchayat/Village level
Key Stakeholders: Zilla Parishad CEO, Panchayat Members, Government Officers, Lady Supervisors, Medical Officers, Anganwadi Workers (AWW), Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA).
In the form of a festival or ‘Utsav’, Kanya Ratna Utsav celebrates thevalue of the Girl Child by promoting Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) through various awareness generation activities. The most unique aspect of this activity was that it was entirely funded by the communities themselves. Initially, Zilla Parishad CEO of Ahmednagar motivated Lady Supervisors during a District level meeting to organize an event in their respective areas. The Lady Supervisors subsequently coordinated with their local Panchayat members, ASHAs, AWWs and Government Officials to collaboratively mobilize people for an event in the favour of Kanya Ratna Utsav.
Awareness about the Kanya Ratna Utsav was pioneered and spearheaded by Panchayat Members, ICDS Supervisors, ASHAs, AWWs and Government Officials through the distribution of pamphlets, setting up of banners and displays on flex boards for all the 141 programmes of Kanya Ratna Utsav across the District. Programme implementation revolved around morning rallies and street plays in addition to poshan aahar and cultural programmes that spread awareness about empowering the Girl Child. Moreover, rangoli, essay and drawing competitions were organized for adolescent girls alongside games, for which prizes were distributed to winners. Expert lectures on ‘Save the Girl Child’ and ‘Educate the Girl Child’ from domains like medicine, law, etc. were followed by panel discussions, reviews and guidance sessions. Furthermore, couples with one or two daughters were felicitated and local people voluntarily contributed to a fund that was deposited for girls.
The success of Kanya Ratna Utsav in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra can be attributed to the committed interest that was displayed by District level officers and Panchayat members. Community mobilization initiated and sustained by front workers further added impetus to the buzz created for the event. In addition, financial contributions made by local people helped the people to build a sense of ownership over the event, promoting the cause of women's empowerment.
The primary outcome of this event has been changing behavioural change, as it has helped in addressing stigma associated with the birth of girl child. This initiative has enabled the community to realize the importance of girls and women and their role in the social and economic development of society.
It has become a people’s movement in the district that challenges age old traditions of de-valuing the Girl Child. A total of 141 Kanya Ratna Programmes have been conducted in 14 blocks of the district. An amount of INR 37,60,105 /- voluntary contribution was collected for Kanya Ratna Utsav. This amount has been deposited in banks and post offices in the District for 3882 girls.
Increasing the participation of the male population in District is challenging. By increasing the frequency of this activity, it would be possible to increase awareness.