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Location

55 villages of 3 Mandals of Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh.
Thematic Focus: Education and Protection


Project Background:

Pragathi was established in 1993 by the Project Holder Mr. K.V. Ramana in order to ensure social justice for underprivileged children and communities as he had seen the plight of these children and communities closely. He has a good understanding of the conditions and issues of the community. When he started his work, he initiated activities in his own Mandal. He has undergone several training/ workshops conducted by various organizations and is a sought after resource person in the child rights sector. The organization works with the scheduled caste, scheduled tribe and other backward communities in Chinagottigallu, Sodam, Somal and Piler Mandals of Chittoor district in Andhra Pradesh.

Problem Statement:


Pragathi works with migrant communities in 3 Mandals (blocks) of Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh namely Srikalahasti (new Mandal with 9 villages), Yerpedu and Renigunta. Most of the migrating families work as watchmen at mango gardens and some older children are also involved in the work. They also work as cattle grazers and in agriculture fields. 70% of the child labors stay locally with their families while 29% of child labors stay with their families at migrated place. The reasons for child labor are poor economic conditions, inaccessibility to schools, corporal punishment and migration. School infrastructure is insufficient due to non-allocation of sufficient budgets for the education sector and in particular lack of funds for improving the infrastructure facilities of the schools. Girls mostly drop out in the area to take care of their siblings or to get married. The system of dowry, social customs, and economic conditions of the family along with lack of enforcement of the law are reasons for the still prevailing incidence of child marriage.

Achievements and Impact:

Program Activities Planned Progress and Achievements

Result Area: 50% ICDS Anganwadi Centers are transformed into Model Anganwadi Centers for early childhood education (ECE)

• Organize orientation program parents on importance of ECE program.
• Ensure admission of all children aged 3 years into the pre-school program of Anganwadi.
• Engage with Anganwadi Supervisors / CDPO to guide & strengthen Anganwadi Teachers on ECE program components in Anganwadis

• 19 Anganwadis are transformed into Model Anganwadi Centers on planned parameters.
• 1,099 parents were oriented on the issues of ECE.
• 173 children of above 3 years were ensured admission into the pre-school program of Anganwadi.
• 62 Anganwadi Centre’s were monitored on ECCE component; coordinator and director monitored the monthly action plans and documented the findings.
• Established rapport with 7 Anganwadi Supervisors / CDPO to guide Anganwadi teachers on ECCE program components. Team participated in the sector level ICDS meetings and shared the nature of work that Pragathi carried out on ECCE and other ICDS related activities.
• 61 Anganwadi teachers, 303 Community Based Organization (CBO) members and 200 elected PRI members were oriented on the importance of ECE program.

Program Activities Planned Progress and Achievements

Result Area: Reduce school dropouts in the project area.

• Conduct family counseling for school dropouts on the importance of education and assist in re-enrolment.
• Conduct sensitization meetings with parents on the importance of girl child education.
• Track and monitor children from vulnerable families to ensure transition of children from lower primary to upper primary school and further to high school.
• Identify and assist needy children in accessing social security entitlements.
• Explore alternate strategies such as open schooling and vocational courses for those children who cannot be mainstreamed into schools.

• Ensured re-enrolment of 106 dropout children. Amma Vodi scheme played a major role in mainstreaming drop outs.
• 156 teachers were sensitized against corporal punishment. For this regular interaction was done with school teachers, participated in teacher’s cluster meeting and oriented them on corporal punishment issue.
• Strengthened 74 School Management Committees by ensuring regular meetings and parents’ regular participation in meetings.
• 43 schools were selected for the Nadu Nedu Program to improve infrastructure facilities in schools, especially functional girls' toilets and sufficiency of teachers. The main facilitating factors were Govt. scheme for reforming the school through Nadu Nedu program.
• 4 schools were protected from the threat of closure. For this the team motivated private school going children to join in the Govt. schools, created sensitization among village people what will happen if the school in the community were closed due to less enrolment, 6 drop out children from these villages were re-joined and Amma Vodi scheme supported this.
• Regular monitoring of 4 hostels and 1 residential school was done. Monthly plans and proper follow up were done by the project coordinator and director.
• Monthly tracking of all children in the 15-18 years age group was done and ensured their transition from upper primary to high school & high school to other higher education courses. 362 children transited from upper primary to high school and 266 children transited from high school to higher education. Personal counseling to 301 parents was done whose children were dropouts.
• Guided all 274 children who completed 10th standard to apply for higher education courses. Due to COVID 19, Govt. of AP declared all 10th grade children in the current academic year as passed.
• Guided 158 10th and 12th standard failed children to re-appear for supplementary exams. Due to COVID 19, Govt. of AP declared all 12th grade children in the current academic year as passed.

Key Result Areas Program Activities Planned

Result Area: Reduce child labor in the project area.

• Conduct vulnerability assessment among project community to identify children at risk of becoming child labor.
• Identify children combining work with school or engaging in seasonal labor.
• Conduct awareness programs / Kalajathas on child labor at community level.
• Organize interface meeting with elected PRI representatives and govt. officials to sensitize them on child labor and take assistance in mainstreaming them.

• 197 vulnerable children were identified through identification of vulnerability assessment of families.
• 234 children (101 in age-group 6-14 and 133 in the age-group 15-18 years) were identified who were combining work with school. These children were involved in their own shop business, flower plucking, agriculture work, street vendors, cattle rearing.
• Team sensitized 397 families of child labors on education and ill-effects of child labor. Team tracked children’s school attendance and collected information about their involvement in various works by consulting with the school leaders.
• Conducted 31 sensitization activities on child labor issue; organized 23 Kalajathas in more child labor prevailing villages and 570 children, 766 community members were sensitized.
• 12 child laborers mainstreamed in schools.
• 113 child labors were given health awareness sessions on consequences of child labor issue with the support of 18 ANM, 21 ASHA and 1 PHC doctor 33 sessions conducted in 33 villages.
• Teachers were encouraged to visit families of child laborers and 43 teachers from 18 schools visited 117 child labors’ families. As a result, 5 child labors in the age group of 6-14 years were mainstreamed in schools.
• 72 Village volunteers and 43 Panchayat Sachivalayam staff were involved and they sensitized 151 child labors. In addition to that, they have sensitized 94 seasonal child labor and 160 children who are combining work with school.

Key Result Areas Program Activities Planned

Result Area: 1100 children in Children Collectives acquire quality Life Skills

• Conduct regular children collective meetings.
• Organize new adolescent girls' groups in the project area.
• Transact life skills modules among children collective members.

• 144 Children collectives’ meetings were conducted till March 2020, after which this had to be stopped in view of covid lockdown. • 4 adolescent collectives were formed in BV puram, Kandadu, Jinkalamitta and Kummarigunta villages with 35 adolescent girls. • 410 Children from 27 children 'collectives' participated in the life skill session. • 500 children from 12 schools in the project area participated in the games; these children bagged 60% of total prizes in different games.



Various life skills sessions as listed below were organized on different topics and children from the collectives participated:

• Sessions on self-empowerment in 20 child collectives in which 270 children participated.
• Sessions on Self Confidence in 20 child collectives in which 270 children participated.
• Sessions on Proactive thinking in 21 child collectives in which 340 children have participated.
• Sessions on Problem Solving skills in 21 child collectives in which 340 children participated.
• Sessions on Emotional Intelligence in 2 child collectives in which 34 children participated.
• Sessions on Verbal Communication skills in 2 child collectives in which 30 participated.
• Sessions on Body Language in 2 child collectives in which 30 children participated.
• Sessions on Listening skills in 2 child collectives in which 30 children participated.

COVID relief services by Pragathi during lock down:



The lockdown has impacted agriculture and allied activities and local non formal activities in rural areas, and reverse migration trend increased. This unexpected crisis has severely impacted all types of communities and particularly people belonging to the Scheduled Tribe (ST), Scheduled Castes (SC) and Backward Castes (BC) communities have suffered a lot. The Govt. has rendered support during this period by providing interim relief activities, which are merely helping the families to survive in this period.
Pragathi has approached various local and NRI donors and raised a certain amount for the relief activities. Through the relief activities project is able to distribute ration, vegetables, and household groceries to the vulnerable families. In addition to that, the project distributed COVID safety material like face masks, gloves, soaps and sanitizers to various community people and other Govt. stakeholders. In continuation to that project along with the government. The revenue department has ensured 11 families without ration cards receive ration cards. Project was successful in resuming the drinking water facility in Chindepalli village in Yerpedu Mandal. Through the COVID 19 relief activities, a total of 3,646 families were benefitted through which 5,100 children have received needful services from the project.

Case Story:

The COVID 19 pandemic, which has had an adverse impact on almost everybody, has an even more devastating effect on children. The life of a 14 years old girl would have been more vulnerable in pandemic times if the CRY supported Pragathi staff could not stop her marriage at the last minute.
Vijayashanthi is staying in the BC welfare hostel and studying 8th class in Srikalahasthi Govt. high school. Due to COVID pandemic, all the government hostels are closed. With no option left, she came to the native village – Bathinaiah colony. During the lockdown period, the unprecedented events that followed and decisions taken by her mother forced her to go through the most miserable phase in her life.
45 years old Munemma has two daughters. Her husband was deceased in the year of 2018 due to chronic illness. She is a sole breadwinner for this family. She used to go to the daily wage labor and with this little income; she has been taking care of the family needs. Due to lock down, in the month of April she managed to get 4 days of work as against the 20 days of work generally she used to get every month in this season. Weeks without earning had left her family with just about mere enough to eat and live.
Knowing about the hardships being faced by this family, a relative of Munemma lured her under the guise of prospective marriage proposal to Vijayashanthi with a mentally retarded person aged 26 years without dowry and a promise of marriage expenses will be bear by bridegroom family. She even convinced Munemma by making her remember the bitter experiences faced when her elder daughter eloped and got early pregnancy and the struggle she faced to settle the issue two years back. Munemma initially rejected, but accepted the proposal by considering the previous experiences and the financial security and protection that her daughter is going to get in the future. They even planned to solemnize the marriage secretly in the home without inviting relatives by considering the advantage of lock down restrictions. Low cost weddings during lockdown restrictions is also another factor that motivated Munemma to agree.
It was two days before the due date, Munemma went to the nearest town and brought all the essential things for the marriage. Munemma relatives and bridegroom family members frequently came to the child home and had secret discussions. Though lock down travel restriction were there, upon receiving the information, Pragathi team member rushed to the village and alerted the CDPO, lady constable, CBO members and village volunteers and requested them to stop the marriage. The government officials also responded quickly and reached Munemma home within no time. Pragathi team member along with CDPO, Anganwadi worker, village volunteer and CBO members has given the counseling to child mother and taken the written agreement stating that, ’child will not get married off until the child attain legal age’ and agreed to face the consequences as per the law if she secretly perform the marriage.
According to the Child Development Project Officer (CDPO), girls getting married at the age of 16-18 is a common phenomenon here. Moreover, people have been taking advantage of the lockdown restrictions. They think the officers of the concerned department may not reach due to preoccupation with the pandemic control activities. She further added that during lockdown, the parents need not invite many of their relatives or arrange the marriage in public places like temples and halls. So, what they do is solemnize the marriage within the four walls of their house and this intervention is the perfect example.

Plans

Outcome Activities

Goal Area- Education

Strengthen the Pre-school education in the project area.

• Orient parents on the importance of ECE programs.
• Ensure admission of all above 3 years children into pre-school program of Anganwadi Centers under ICDS.
• Submit requisitions to government for new Anganwadi centers and conversion of mini Anganwadi centers into main centers.
• Submit requisitions to government for better infrastructure facilities in Anganwadi centers.
• Orient Anganwadi teachers on Early Childhood Education (ECE) program components. (9 components).
• Monitor implementation of ECE program components in ICDS centers.
• Orient parents, PRI, CBO on the importance of ECE program.

Ensure 100% enrolment, retention and transition of children in the age-group 6-14 years and prevent drop out among them

• Identify irregular children in schools and take measures to streamline them.
• Sensitize parents of dropout on the importance of education.
• Sensitize parents of school going children on the importance of continuity of education especially girl child education
• Identify and assist children to apply for social security entitlements.
• Ensure re-enrolment of drop out children.
• Involve CBOs/ PRI/ Village Volunteers in mainstreaming the dropout.
• Ensure transition of children from primary to upper primary school.

Ensure 100% enrolment, retention and transition of children in the age-group 15-18 years and prevent drop out among them. Assist 10th and 12th board examination students for 100% pass out and joining higher education.

• Mainstream long-term out of school children to alternative courses
• Track all children in the age group of 15-18 years and ensure their transition from upper primary to high school and high school to other higher education courses.
• Guide children who completed 10th and 12th standard to apply for higher education / skill based courses.
• Organize career counseling sessions to 9th and 10th class children once in a year.

Outcome Activities

Strengthen stakeholder engagement for improving learning environment

• Strengthen Parents Monitoring Committee (PMC) /School Monitoring Committees (SMC). Ensure their participation in School Development Plans development.
• Encourage CBOs to mobilize parents to admit their children in government schools.
• Ensure improved infrastructure facilities in schools (especially toilets as per students' ratio, sufficiency of teachers and free supply of sanitary napkins.)
• Protect schools under threat of closure from being closed.
• Regular monitoring of social welfare hostels / residential schools by project team members.
• Ensure improved infrastructure facilities in hostels especially building in good condition and compound walls.

Goal Area : Protection (Child Labor)

Improve understanding of child labor situation in the project area and implement stakeholder engagement programs to prevent & rescue children from child labor and mainstream them

• Vulnerability assessment for child labor to identify children at risk of becoming child labor.
• Share with parents the results of vulnerability assessment report to sensitize them on the implications of child labor
• Conduct awareness programs / Kalajathas on child labor in community.
• Mainstream the identified child labor into schools by involving CBOs, Teachers, PRI and Village Volunteers in the process.
• Share child labor data of 6-14 and 15-18 years children with divisional labor officer (separately for hazardous and non-hazardous occupations)

• Request for convergence meeting with other concerned departments under the supervision of district Labor Officer as per CLPRA Act and ICPS and ensure at least one meeting happens at District level and one meeting at Mandal level during the year.
• Formation/ reactivation/ strengthening of Village level Child Protection Committee (VCPC).
• Provide training to government village volunteers, concerned Gram Sachivalayam staff and cluster resource person on child rights and protection issues.

Goal Area : Participation (Children Collectives)

Strengthen children collectives and adolescent girls' collectives and improve life skills among children and adolescents.

• Conduct regular child collective and adolescent girls' groups meetings.
• Form new child collectives and adolescent girls' groups.
• Identify sports talents in children and encourage them to participate in the school and outside events.
• Implement Life Skills Modules in child collectives:
• Self-empowerment - Self-esteem, Self-responsibility
• Proactive thinking skills - Self-awareness
• Implement Life Skills Modules in adolescent collectives:
• Changes in puberty; respecting boundaries.

Total amount disbursed in 2020 - 38,178


Financial Summary: January to December 2021


Budget Breakup 2021

Education

15,309

40%

Protection

15,309

40%

Administration

7,559

20%

Total Grant Approved

38,177

100%