STRIVE partner KHPT recently celebrated International Day of the Girl Child with activities in Bijapur and Bagalkot districts in North Karnataka, India. The activities formed part of KHPT's implementation of the Samata project, which aims to reduce HIV risk among adolescent girls in Bijapur and Bagalkot Districts by increasing their rates of secondary school enrolment and completion.
The events were designed to create awareness and generate discussion on the socio-cultural and institutional barriers that limit educational access for girls. Sports were used as a medium to challenge the gender norms in a rural village setting, where mixed teams of boys and girls competed in cricket and relay.
Aravind Javalagi, a teacher at a local school, commented that such events are needed to encourage girls who have fewer opportunities:
Most girls in this village are from marginalised communities and need some strong hands to bring them up. Programmes such as these will build their leadership skills, encourage their active participation in the community and attract them to school.
KHPT's report of the day's events details the full range of activities organised to support the Samata project, highlights of which include:
- mixed teams of boys and girls competed in cricket and athletics, thereby challenging gender norms in a village setting
- participants in Araker, Bagalkot took a collective oath to promote gender equity, prevent child marriage, encourage girls’ education, and provide equal opportunities
- the Women’ s University in Bijapur committed to conduct career counselling and personality development sessions for adolescent girls associated with Samata
- the Department of Education in Bijapur committed their full cooperation to the implementation of Samata
- participating schools committed to support the project and prevent girls leaving school before they complete tenth grade.
Priya Pillai of KHPT produced this postcard on behalf of KHPT for international distribution by GirlRising.