“Sunalo Sakhi” is a small demonstration project started under the banner of Practical Answers at the beginning of 2016. The local partner CCWD happily agreed to partner with us for 3 months to implement the program in 15 slums of Bhubaneswar. This Bhubaneswar based NGO has strong grass root level presence and as this project was for a small period. We decided to use the already existed groups formed by the local NGO for the successful running of the project.
The project focussed on educating adolescent girls on menstrual hygiene. Many development organizations have comprehensive programmes on and around this issue. But what made us different from others is the multi faceted campaigning through radio shows, podcasting, individual counselling, focused group discussion, and film screenings in slums and in nearby high-schools.
We are happy to share that in Bhubaneswar we broadcast the first ever radio show exclusively on menstrual hygiene.
Some of the notable achievements of this three month project are;
1. Through radio we are reaching out to directly around 2000 young girls and women in 15 slums
2. Through our community outreach programme we are reaching out to more than 3000 girls and women.
3. Through film screening we are reaching out to more than 500 school going girls
4. 15 Kishori Clubs have been revived with 386 members and many change agents have been identified to keep on sharing the knowledge with their peers
As the radio has a 25 KM radius cover of Bhubaneswar it is reaching even more adolescent girls of the city than those in our project area. During the radio shows our community workers are ensuring their presence in the field where the adolescent girls are able to ask their questions through telephone calls and our resource person is immediately answering the questions.
It was really nice to hear the experiences of Usharani, Babita and Auropriya in the sharing workshop. Auropriya said that these shows helped her to prepare herself as she was about to attain puberty. Now she knows how to maintain hygiene during her periods. Usharani and Babita said that this has really helped many young girls as they were not able to ask anyone their concerns and the radio shows have addressed many of the issues of their fellow girls.
The project has successfully identified many blind beliefs associated with menstruation and developed knowledge products to address those. There are 436 slums in the city and many girls are deprived of such knowledge. I must accept we need further resources to expand the programmes. Hence, we are exploring partnership with some of the like minded organizations. But there are a few key things that I hope the project team will work on:
1. Sharing our recordings with other community radio stations managed by non-profits and requesting that they broadcast these in their operational areas
2. Sharing the knowledge products with other organizations
3. Ensuring Kishori club members keep sharing their knowledge with their peers.
The sharing meeting opened up new windows to educate more girls in different regions. Using community radio across the state, this kind of programme can now reach out to thousands of other girls in need of resources. Technology has now forward a step in witnessing a change in the hygiene practice of young girls and we wish to spread this knowledge with more communities.