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The organization came into existence in 1997 when the Karnataka State Women Development Corporation (KWDC) and MYRADA were supporting the Devadasi Rehabilitation program in Karnataka. MASS was initiated to secure rights and justice for women and children. The organization’s leadership is comprised of marginalized women who were victims of the devadasi system in society.


Belgaum is known to be the commercial and industrial hub of North Karnataka. However, child marriages are common in the district which increases risk of adverse reproductive health consequences as well as other health hazards. Alcoholism among men, acute poverty, gender based traditions and insensitive attitude of men have made girl children more vulnerable to gender based violence.

One of the predominant features of the district is the Devadasi system wherein young girls (sometimes even before they are born) mainly from dalit families were forced to be dedicated to a local deity/goddess and were expected to lead an ascetic life in the service of the goddess. As the tradition degenerated into an exploitative one, only dalit women were forced to lead life as devadasis, particularly from the lowest rung within the dalit community. Belgaum, Bijapur, Davangere, Bagalkot, Raichur, Koppal, Dharwad, Bellay, Gulbarga, Shimoga, Haveri, Gadag and other districts of north Karnataka are witness to this system. High infant mortality rate, lack of public health care facilities, malnourishment, lower number of ICDS centers, high rate of school droup-outs, child trafficking are some other critical child rights issues in the area.


  • To ensure child survival by monitoring of primary healthcare services and protect dignity of girl children by prevention of child trafficking and child marriage.
  • To identify and monitor malnourished children of different category.
  • To ensure access, quality & services of primary, secondary and high schools.
  • To strengthen girl child protection systems in all 20 intervention villages.
  • To re-enrol drop out children and child labor, with special emphasis on girl children.
  • To strengthen community mobilisation to address child rights.

2013 Review:

MASS has been successful in eradicating the practice of the forced devdasi system in Belgaum district. Currently with CRY partnership the organization is operating in 20 revenue villages of Chikkodi taluka in Belgaum district of Karntaka. The focus of the project is on ensuring dignity and education of girl children to prevent child marriages, child trafficking, girl child abuse and girl children being forced into the devadasi practice.
  • The team has been closely monitoring the adolescent girls who are out of school and are on the threat of child marriage.
  • Team organised a 15 day child marriage jatha (community awareness program) covering 15 villages of the operational area. The jatha involved adolescent girls who are going to and who are out of school, village gram panchayat members and ASHA/ANM workers.
  • 4 malnourished children identified and have received medical check up at the Kabbur PHC.
  • 500 letters written by the students to CM Karnataka from 4 blocks to withhold the closure of school with less than 10 students.
  • The team has been able to re-enrol 21 children, out of which 8 are girls and 13 are boys.
  • They also re-enrolled 16 children into the hostel and residential school facilities of the state.
  • The team actively participated in SPJ alliance process like in the election manifesto campaign by organising media and legislature to escalate the demand for high schools.

2014 Review & Impact [Till September 2014]:

The focus of this project in 2014 is on child protection (specially child marriage prevention & the girl child) and on education which is key to preventing child exploitation and abuse.
  • CO’s have been organizing community awareness campaigns on child marriage, girl child issues and education across 9 villages.
  • Work with the local government authorities to upgrade and strengthen the lower primary and primary schools, specially for preventing child marriages.
  • Prevention of child marriages through motivation & counseling of children and parents.
  • 6 child marriages have been prevented.
  • New middle school has been approved.
  • New anganwadi center has been approved.
  • 200 children have been prepared & trained for writing the Morarji Desai residential school entrance exam.

  • 3 children have been admitted to the residential school.
  • Legal training has been imparted to 62 adolescent girls.
  • 148 school drop out children have been identified.
  • 22 drop out children have been re-enrolled in public schools from Grade 3 to 10.
  • 127 births have been registered across villages.
  • 539 children have been immunized across 8 villages.
  • 107 pregnant women have been immunized across 8 villages.
  • 23 malnourished children have been identified and referred to the PHC & Nutrition Center.
  • 223 children have been engaged in the Children’s Collectives – they have had 17 meetings across 5 villages, specially discussing the issues of child marriage & education.
  • Awareness programs for panchayats and village leaders on the importance of education & ill effects of child marriage


  • Regular monitoring of girl children from Anganwadi’s with regard to immunization, growth monitoring treatment for malnutrition, school enrolment, adolescent health and access to higher education.
  • To collect village level data on child rights status in the operational area on child marriage, child trafficking, immunisation, anganwaadis, malnutrition, children’s health, schools, drop out / child labour, girl children.
  • Identification of malnourished children of different category.
  • Monitoring 86 severely malnourished children and ensuring proper medical treatment and doctor’s advice to them.
  • Approval of 11 new anganwadis will be demanded for the villages of Mirapurahatti, Kamtenahatti, Dowad, Hatterwat and Toranahalli.
  • Awareness on girl child protection and monitoring any cases of forcing girl children into the devadasi practice. Monitoring and preventing child marriages and child trafficking.
  • Identify and follow up on the enrolment of child laborers and drop out children from the mainstream schooling process.
  • To ensure access and basic services of immunisation, anganwaadis, nutrition, PHCs, health, PDS, ration cards.
  • To strengthen community mobilisation to address child rights by initiating 5 village level monitoring committees.
  • 5 new adolescent collectives will be initiated and strengthened to take part in campaigns for ensuring the dignity and education for girl children.


  • Right to Development
  • Right to Survival
  • Right to Protection
  • Right to Participation
  • Administration
  • Total Grant Approved

Grant Budget Clarifications for Project MASS

  • 2013 & 2014 Project Budgets are fairly comparable wrt to total allocations:
      a. no major increases in budget, other than slight increase in overall budget mostly due to cost of living increments given to all staff including the Project Holder.
      b. regular annual increases to honorariums of field workers, project staff, travel etc.
  • Community Organizers (CO’s) are key to program implementation at the field level - greater focus in 2014 on Protection issues - girl child, child marriage, child labor etc. Investments were made thru 2013 on capacity development of project staff on the issue of child protection - aiming to empower them to work on this theme with a focus thru 2014 and beyond. Support is also extended to Legal Advisor for areas that may need legal interventions.
  • 2013 Survival had 4 CO’s Honorariums & travel @ aprox $5,800 [now reflected under 2014 Protection @ approx $7,000] including some routine cost of living increments given.
  • Admin main costs are Project Holder & Accountants honorarium @ approx $3k each & office rent @ approx $1200 - for both 2013 & 2014 - including some routine cost of living increments given