Home Based Care for Ante Natal & Post Natal Mothers and Enabling Environment for AdolescentsBackground
Thally and Kelamangalam blocks of Krishnagiri District are surrounded by hills. Many villages don’t have proper road and transport facilities. In this context the people find it very difficult to access the services of health providers. As a result the Maternal and Infant mortality rates are seen high. Children do not have access to schools and even if they have access to schools, they do not have quality of education. Many children lack basic reading skills according to their education standard.
In the context of Krishnagiri district, where many parents migrate for work, the adolescents are left unattended. Given the terrain setting in some of the blocks, it curbs their opportunity to education. The adolescent girls travelling to school can be a risky affair which forces them to drop out of school post puberty. The district also has high rate of early marriage and unwanted pregnancies. Krishnagiri is one of the districts despite efforts made by civil society organizations and government still remains to be poverty driven where parents force their adolescent children to work.
Having this background ARCOD is working in addressing the issues of adolescents and children including education, sexual and reproductive health and life skills. The project is supported by UNICEF, Chennai.
The objectives of the project is two fold
To create and enabling environment for adolescents that encompasses
- improving reading and writing skills of children
- Addressing sexual and reproductive health of adolescents and realizing their rights
- Addressing mental health issues of adolescents
- Bridging the gap between adolescent children and their parents
- Creating education opportunities, career guidance and identifying livelihood options
- Promoting Life skill education
To promote pre-natal and post natal care to
- Ensure institutional delivery
- Reduce infant and maternal mortality
- Promote exclusive breast feeding in the first 6 months
- Ensure immunization for children from 0-2 years
- Adolescent Clubs
Adolescents aged between the ages of 10 to 16 are formed into a club. The Adolescents clubs meet 6 evenings every week. Academic work for the students takes up 60% of the time and 40% of the time is spent for providing some life skill education for all adolescents. Each club has a mentor from the same village.
Meeting of Stakeholders
Once in three months, the community and parents meet the Club members and the Mentor to be informed of the Club activities. Meetings are arranged with Panchayats, PHCs, Schools and other stakeholders to ensure effective implantation and sustainability.
Life Skills Education
The Club Mentors are providing Life skills training to the members of club on themes such as knowing oneself, physical and psychological changes during adolescence, setting goals, time management, problem solving and awareness on child rights. The life skills meetings have proved to be more popular than the tuition classes: even those who do not attend schools or tuition classes attend these sessions. Class 10 and 12 students who attend extra classes in their own schools attend these sessions.
ARCOD organised a summer camp for the Club Members. The aims were to give children a break from their routine and to help build peer networks across the Clubs. 607 (332 boys and 275 girls) participated in the Camps. ARCOD organised group photographs to be taken and each participant was given a laminated copy of the photograph. Parents’ reluctance to allow girls to stay out overnight played a role in denying children the joy of the Camp. The same parents expressed regret when they heard reports from attendees of the Camp and saw the group photograph.
Once in 3 months, the Club Mentors and Members organise a Mela on various themes. Club Members create plays, songs and dance performances around the specific theme and invite community members and parents. Parents are asked to speak on these occasions. These occasions prove to be platforms of communication between the adolescents and the community.
- Capacity Building of Club Mentors and Village Health Workers
UNICEF provides technical training to the Club Mentors on academic work through another NGO, Aid India. A wing of Aid India named “Eureka Kids” specialises in creation of low-cost visual aids for learning literacy and numeracy skills for children in primary and upper primary stages. Each Club has been given a kit for children’s use; the Club Mentors’ refine and review their mastery of fundamental concepts of math and literacy using kit.
The monthly tests are conducted by the club mentors to monitor the improvement of academic performance of adolescents on Tamil, Mathematics and Science.
- Home Visits by Health Workers
The village health workers meet the Ante Natal and Post Natal Mothers and their family members through home visits to ensure accessibility of the services of the Primary Health Centres by AN & PN Mothers. During these visits the health workers are education the mothers and their family members on various aspects of health.