SAHAJ directly works in urban and rural Vadodara with children, adolescents and women. We also build partnerships with organizations, networks and alliances to spread its reach in different districts of Gujarat as well as in other states of India.
COMPREHENSIVE EDUCATION FOR CHILDREN
Age-specific and need-based interventions have been the features of our work with children on comprehensive education. Ensuring timely enrolments in anganwadis and in schools, re-enrolments of dropouts and providing scholarship to children from marginalized families to retain children in schools and enabling their continued education.
Given the Government of India’s commitment to align its policies with SDGs and targets, SAHAJ works with other Civil Society Organizations to effectively communicate their concerns to ensure that recommendations are incorporated in the official plans to achieve the SDGs.
Adolescents and youth constitute about 30 % of our population. SAHAJ recognizes that this group has greatpotential and innovative ideas, and that their energies need to be channelized in the appropriate direction.
Building strong base in literacy and mathematics for I to V through Educational Support Centers is an effort to contribute to the self confidence of the children and preparedness to fare well in higher classes.
Engaging parents and teachers sensitize them on their role in enhancing children’s education right from the preschool age. It also envisions them as ‘Support Groups’.
Life skill education, value education, linkages to various vocational centers add to the comprehensive development of children in crucial stage of their developing years.
Support for continuing education through scholarships to children from marginalized families and on the verge of dropping out of school (due to financial constraints, gender discrimination or lack of knowledge about the importance of education in parents), helps these adolescents and youth complete their higher education and thus aspire for a better career option.
The Bal Samitis (Children’s Committee) is a platform to inculcate leadership qualities with a sense of responsibility in children at a young age.
Recreation is the right of any child. Outdoor activities like sports, picnics, creative activities contribute to the comprehensive development of children.
HEALTH AND WELL BEING
Nutrition, Sexual and Reproductive Health and maternal health entitlements were the areas of work with specific groups. Engaging families and service providers, sensitizing mandated committees to play their roles effectively, building alliances and disseminating learnings while working with them to reach their voices to the wider forum were some of the important strategies besides knowledge building. Small studies for action research and generating reports based on the findings from various state and national level consultations helped in taking the way forward.
Our Interventions in Health and Well-being
- Health for all
- Access and quality health services
- Build social accountability on health issues
- Ensure basic health entitlements
- Promote Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights
- Improve maternal health
- Work with men and boys
- Strengthen Mahila Aarogya Samiti (Women’s Health Committees)
GENDER AND EQUITY
SAHAJ sees gender discrimination as discrimination between any of the sexes based on the various layers that empower the individual or makes him/her vulnerable. The basis may be education, place of residence, age, marital status, socio economic status, diverse sexual identities, disabilities etc. The various intersectionalities contribute to the power or vulnerability of an individual or community.
SAHAJ at present is working towards empowerment 23 girls from communities in urban Vadodara which restricts higher education to girls, their mobility, access to technology. They are being trained in making various handicrafts and market them – a step towards self-reliance. SAHAJ has also trained 247 girls from 15 bastis on ‘using technology to access information’. These girls can now surf sites, use Whatsapp, click photos etc. Three girls from the 23 girls learning handicrafts use their father’s or brother’s mobile to trace innovative designs in cloth bags , purses, pouches, folders and jewelry.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
Women’s health has been at the centre of many development debates over the decades, and it occupies a crucial space in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations in 2015. The SDGs are universal, integrated and interrelated in nature. They consist of 17 goals and 169 targets, revolving around three dimensions of development - economic, social and environmental development.
SAHAJ is partnering with Equal Measures (EM) 2030 for civil society action for more encompassing, holistic and realistic state and national level plans for better implementation of policies and programs towards achieving the selected targets for SDG 3 (good health and well-being) and SDG 5 (gender equality).
SAHAJ is EM 2030’s national influencing partner in India. In the pilot phase (2017-18), SAHAJ published organised meetings with civil society organizations in four states- Assam, Punjab, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh. State level reports highlighting the progress of SDG 3 and SDG 5 were developed on the basis of these discussions. This was followed by a national level event, ‘Leaving No One: Conversations around SDGs 3 and 5’. In the second phase, SAHAJ is working with civil society partners in three states viz. Assam, Gujarat and Punjab. The state level work focuses on creating civil society and media champions to track SDG progress with a gender equality lens.
One of the important objectives of the project is also to increase political will and dialogue amongst key stakeholders, on the importance of data and evidence-based implementation of the SDGs for girls and women.
- Evidence generation on specific issues related to gender equality within SDG framework with a focus on marginalized communities
- Use of evidence by civil society actors to dialogue with duty bearers on specific issues/indicators related to gender equality within SDG framework
- Evidence based changes in policies, laws and budget to achieve gender equality
- Demonstrated commitment by policymakers for policies, laws and budget changes needed to achieve gender equality
SAHAJ tries to address the adolescent age specific needs sensitively with their own participation and engagement. Their heterogeneity makes it more challenging to reach them. Various intersectionalities either make them privileged than their counterparts or push them towards the periphery.
Our current programmes focus on enhancing their leadership in enabling social accountability. Our interventions aim to inculcate ‘Responsible citizenship’ in them. While having an expertise on Gender and SRHR, we at present are exploring the needs of special groups (adolescents and youth with disabilities and/or in sexual minorities) in this context. These learnings, we believe will help us work with them more comprehensively and with an inclusion approach in the coming years. Creating support groups and engaging service providers helps to manage the backlash. Alliances and networks provide a platform for reaching their voices to various levels.