• slide2

    Activity to bring realization that Knowing & understanding oneself means being empowered, being smart!

  • slide4

    Intresting content of smart girl program captures the attention of adolescent girls.

  • slide5

    Activity instilling confidence to face adversities and learn the practical tips for self defence.

  • slide12

    Activity to develop acceptance for differences of opinion and to create sense of understanding.

  • slide13

    Activity to create awareness about importance of selecting right friends.

  • slide16

    Pune Smart Girl "train the trainers" session in program for Zila Parishad Master Trainers.

  • slide17

    Sharing personal experience.

  • slide18

    Having self-confidence means being empowered being smart!!!

  • slide19

    Confident girls with improved understanding that beliefs, values and guiding principles provides strength in difficult times.

5 Lakh Girls Empowered

Two-day workshop of “Smart Girl Program” developed by Bharatiya Jain Sanghatana (BJS) is now available in Maharashtra State Government schools also known as Zila Parishad (ZP) schools. Five districts of Maharashtra run these program through their own teachers and master trainers who have been trained by BJS master trainers. The program has been designed and developed by BJS and is provided free of cost.

District Year of starting No of Master Trainers No of Teachers No of workshops No of Girls
Ahmednagar 2016-17 72 986 1122 74643
Pune 2017-18 157 2706 3701 205765
Wardha 2018-19 0 443 517 26359
Nanded 2018-19 53 653 1022 67114
Aurangabad 2018-19 103 1375 1781 99317
Total 385 6163 8143 473198

Besides Maharashtra, this program is also running in other states like Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.

District Year of starting No of Master Trainers No of Teachers No of workshops No of Girls
Madhya Pradesh 2016-17 81 454 311 14256
Andhra Pradesh 2017-18 0 118 713 28891
Total 81 562 1024 43147

Program Background

Adolescence is a vulnerable period in an individual’s life. It is essential to understand the factors that influence the adolescent social, psychological and physiological development for planning effective social service delivery systems to help adolescent survive the many risks that threaten their wellbeing. Of the 1.2 billion adolescents aged 10 to 19 years worldwide, 243 Million (about 20%) live in India. Out of them nearly 113 Million are adolescent girls. Yet, in India there are limited social service delivery systems for adolescent social, psychological and physiological development.

In today’s context, girls have better life prospects than previous generations in many ways. Prosperity and nutrition are improving, child marriage and teenage pregnancy is decreasing and female educational attainment and participation in workforce are on the rise. However, these advancements are far from universal and poor girls are often left behind and their rights undermined. In addition to the social forces against them, girls continue to face high levels of gender-based violence, unwanted pregnancies and unsafe deliveries. One in four girls is getting married before attaining 18 years of age and one in five adolescent girls aged 15-19 years is giving birth.

Despite these challenges, many girls manage to play a critical role in their homes and communities, even in crises. They are often the first responders who care for their families and establish networks that produce the social capital and resilient communities to survive. Protecting and promoting their rights, health and wellbeing is therefore an essential element of crisis preparedness, effective response and recovery.

Empowerment is a process of ongoing change through which girls expand their aspirations, strengthen their voice and exercise choice. Knowledge and skills are fundamental to girls ability to make informed choices and effectively exercise their rights in the empowerment process. A large body of evidence shows a correlation between girls education and a range of health and development outcomes, including delays in marriage, reduced risk of HIV infection and increased employment and economic growth. In addition to the formal education, skill education, counselling and mentorship can be important avenues for the girls to gain knowledge and skills that enable their empowerment.

BJS works to empower the girls with skills, attitudes and abilities that support them in making right choices and decisions to live a dignified life. This also helps them become more resilient in the face of crisis and in the rebuilding of their societies.

Program Summary

The flagship program of BJS titled “Smart Girl Program” for empowerment of adolescent girls has now covered over 5 Lakh girls all over the country. This program is a two-day workshop aimed at capacity building of young girls of age 13 to 21 years to face the realities of the world. As described above, girls are subjected to discrimination, gender bias, reduced opportunities, apprehension, harassment and violence of all types. This two-day Smart Girl workshop imparts sufficient knowledge and skill in an activity based friendly manner which besides making the girls aware of their own strengths and their interaction with the environment, also helps them build their confidence to handle incidents and eventualities on their own.

Program Content

The program has six educational modules.

  • The first module “Self-Awareness’ focuses on exercises that make the girls realise their strengths and weaknesses. It then helps them improve the strengths and control or reduce the weaknesses. This also guides them how to bring about a positive change in their personality by self-questioning the social, physical and emotional aspects and critical observation of their roles, experiences and events in their daily life.
  • The second module “Communication and Relationships” guides the girls on good communication skills and maintaining healthy relationships. Through activities the girls get to understand the causes of differences in opinion and their value in arriving at good balanced decisions.
  • The third module is on “Menstruation and Hygiene”.It focuses on physical aspects of their body, menstruation, hygiene, and nutrition. Topics, which all parents would like their children to know, but are not comfortable to discuss at home are covered in detail and with scientific explanation. Healthy practices regarding menstruation are shared. This is being supplemented with health and nutrition now.
  • The fourth module “Self Esteem and Self Defence” focuses on discovering the varied and unique qualities each girl possesses and how to value it and create self-respect for oneself. The environment around us subjects the girls to adverse incidences and events which may make them lose confidence in themselves. This session helps them to protect their self-esteem. The session on Self Defence teaches the basics of self-defence – both mental and physical.
  • The fifth module of “Choices and Decisions” develops their ability to make right choices among the various options. The girls develop an understanding that with the freedom to make a choice comes great responsibility and equips them to conduct themselves responsibly. Elements like time management, career planning, social media and technology and their impact on our lives is a part of this session.
  • The sixth module is on “Friendships and Temptations”. This informs them the importance of friends in one’s life and how to choose friends particularly close friends. There is no need to hide good friendship from parents. It educates the girls on the temptations arising from friendship with boys, risks involved in internet surfing, facebook uploads and social media interaction and alerts them on the best practices. Important aspects like differences between a good touch and bad touch etc. are covered.

Program Delivery

  • BJS has trained Master trainers who are well versed in the program content as well as program delivery in few languages.
  • Good experienced teachers are selected from the government schools and are designated as master trainers. These are trained by BJS master trainers in a 7-day engagement. These Master trainers subsequently train the Government school teachers who in turn conduct the Smart Girl Workshops in batches of 50 girls.
  • The whole program has the blessings of Chief Education Officer (CEO) of the district and is supported fully by District Education Officers (DEO) and Block Education Officers (BEO). These officers play a critical role in planning, organising the training and execution, including observations.

Program Impact

  • During the Program design and development stage, pilot run of the Program was conducted. The Program was evaluated on iterative basis, using scientific and statistical tools at base line and end line stages to assess the delivery of the content and achieving the desired outcomes. The Program was approved after these parameters were achieved satisfactorily.
  • BJS carried out detailed impact assessment of the Smart Girl Program when it was rolled out in the Government schools. This was done by conducting baseline assessment by recording feedback from the girls and then conducting the end line assessment in the same manner. The results were very encouraging.
  • This positive impact is also complimented by feedback from principals, teachers and parents and BJS has numerous letters, videos from them stating that the Program is one of its kind and makes a great positive impact on the young minds. Some of these are shared in the video section.
  • A notable change observed in the girls was that they started trusting their Parents and Teachers and started sharing their difficulties in complete confidence. This led to many complex issues surfacing up quickly and getting resolved saving embarrassment of the adolescent girls. Many parents and teachers have reported improvement in communication and relationship with the girls.
  • As a tangible outcome there were many threats and risks which were averted, in complete secrecy, resulting in confidence of the girls in the family structure and societal support.

The success of the Program was so high that the school administration and CEO from the five districts of Maharashtra on their own asked for refresher training of the master trainers and teachers in the year 2019-20 (school session).

Smart Girl Brochures

Feedback

  • Smart girl helped me to become a school counselor.

  • Sharing story of increased confidence

  • Expressing benefits of the workshop.

  • Sharing story of change in behavior.