As we observe National Day of the Girl Child 2021 on January 24, The CSR Journal takes a look back on some of the most successful corporate social responsibility programmes for girls.
Sakhiyon Ki Baadi – IIFL
‘Sakhiyon Ki Baadi’ is one of India’s largest girl child literacy programmes active in Rajasthan. IIFL Foundation, the CSR arm of IIFL Group, a diversified financial services company, runs this programme which won the 2020 National Award for CSR and Sustainability. It has brought over 36,000 out-of-school girls into the fold of education. IIFL Foundation works primarily in the rural areas of Rajasthan and with underprivileged indigenous tribal communities, where girl child literacy is less than 10% in most cases. The mission of Sakhiyon Ki Baadi is to have 100% girl child literacy in Rajasthan.
This project makes it to the list on National Day of the Girl Child 2021 because it has a unique approach to mainstreaming out of school girls in the age group of 4-14 years back into education, through an education support centre. The community is involved in the process since inception and helps the team members identify the out-of-school girls, local teachers and the place for the centre through community meetings. The teachers are provided training through a well-designed curriculum and the centre is also provided with education learning materials for engaging girls back into education.
Improving Female Literacy – Hikal
Life sciences company Hikal’s CSR project in Mahad (Maharashtra) had the goal of improving the female literacy rate. The literacy rate in Gondale village was 76.21% as compared to 82.34% for Maharashtra in 2011. The female literacy rate stood at 66.98% as compared to 85.97% for males. The project worked towards improving the quality of education, reducing drop-out rates and absenteeism due to health reasons, especially for girls through developing basic infrastructural facilities at school.
The two-year CSR project, undertaken in partnership with the Indian Association of Human Values (IAHV), aimed at providing holistic education. An engaging and safe learning environment was created through various infrastructural interventions. In order to curtail diseases, address absenteeism and teach good hygiene practices to students and teachers, measures to enhance healthcare and hygiene were undertaken. Students were provided with e-learning facilities, and classes were organised for teachers, which helped them develop an interest in the subject.
Two years after the project was started in 2016, there was significant improvement in the female literacy rate from 66.98% to 75%, an impressive statistic for National Day of the Girl Child 2021. The toilets for children were revamped, and new toilets were constructed for the staff, which led to an increase in the attendance of the students and a sharp decline in stomach-related illnesses by 25%. High-quality RO systems were installed in the schools leading to a decrease in instances of water-borne diseases by 30%.
There has been an improvement in the learning levels of students, which has led to better academic performance in progress reports by around 45%. Access to quality education has improved significantly, as earlier it was not possible to provide education to children up to the 10th grade due to infrastructural limitations and health concerns.
GCEP – Konecranes
Girl Child Education Programme (GCEP) was backed by Finnish engineering company Konecranes. GCEP aimed to empower and mobilise young girls between the age group of 6-14 years by providing quality primary education up to the 5th grade. It also intended to increase access and enrolment to basic primary education through community mobilisation and subsequent transition into secondary education post completion of the 5th grade.
The target beneficiaries were girls who were out of the formal schooling system and belonged to the socially disadvantaged and economically marginalised rural communities in India.
GCEP was an initiative of the NGO IIMPACT, which is the CSR partner of Konecranes and Demag Private Limited. The programme was implemented by establishing model learning centres across rural India for a period of five-six years. These were only teacher-led centres, imparting primary level education to girl children using Multi-Grade Multi-Level (MGML) grouping.
The MGML grouping was done due to infrastructure and pedagogical reasons, and the system provided training to children based on their level of learning, competencies and capabilities. The centre ran till the time all the enrolled girls achieved a firm grounding in primary education. The teachers and supervisors at these learning centres underwent training every quarter to ensure standard quality delivery of knowledge across all centres. The programme also encouraged setting up of centre management committees in every village to foster community ownership and promote discussion regarding girl child in the area.
The GCEP CSR initiative has changed the outlook of girl child education in targeted areas. Parents and the community in general are more open to the idea of providing education to their daughters. There has been an increase in the number of girls with access to primary schools along with increased interest among girls to pursue training for longer years.
Project Nanhi Kali
Perhaps the largest ongoing CSR programme for the girl child, Project Nanhi Kali aims to address the issue of gender inequality and provide girls with educational support to help them complete 10 years of schooling.
There are millions of girls in India who are denied an education. Inequality persists with poor female literacy levels, high dropout rates for girls and poor learning levels. Project Nanhi Kali is one of India’s largest programmes that enable girls from economically and socially disadvantaged backgrounds to complete their schooling. The project is jointly managed by KC Mahindra Education Trust and the Naandi Foundation. Each girl is provided with a 360-degree academic as well as material support through an annual school supply kit consisting of a school bag, uniforms, stationery, female hygiene material, etc. Nanhi Kali’s academic support centres engage girls in concept-based learning through a specially designed pedagogy for two hours on a daily basis.
Digital tablets with pre-loaded audio-visual educational content are provided to girls studying in secondary school (6th-10th grades). The project also works extensively with the families of the girls and engages with community stakeholders to sensitise them on the importance of girl child education and build safe, conducive female-friendly ecosystems.
This wraps up our list of the most successful CSR projects on National Day of the Girl Child 2021.