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Villages experiencing information revolution

IT WAS a unique three-month experiment that has sown the seeds of an information revolution in the villages of Allahabad, but with a difference. Under a special initiative of DIFPSA (District Innovation in Family Planning Project Services Agency), adolescent boys and girls were turned into volunteers to propagate the messages of girls education, personal hygiene, health and anti-AIDS campaign.

india Updated: Apr 21, 2006 00:21 IST

IT WAS a unique three-month experiment that has sown the seeds of an information revolution in the villages of Allahabad, but with a difference. Under a special initiative of DIFPSA (District Innovation in Family Planning Project Services Agency), adolescent boys and girls were turned into volunteers to propagate the messages of girls education, personal hygiene, health and anti-AIDS campaign.

Funded by SIFPSA, the programme 'Jeevan Kaushal Shiksha' was exclusively launched in Agra and Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, to cover virtually every aspect of the problems and issues concerning boys and girls in their growing years.

During the three-month-long programme which recently concluded, four-day workshops were held in each of the 12 inter colleges in 10 blocks of Allahabad.

The DIFPSA volunteers, led by Dr Meenakshi Tripathi, project manager, interacted with 1200 boys and girls in these inter colleges. On the first day pre-test was held to test the general awareness of students in the age group of 15 to 18 years regarding general hygiene, birth spacing, first aid, pregnancy, family planning, HIV/AIDS and other adolescent issues.

In the following three days, topics such as health, family, friendship, importance of family interaction, adolescence, violence against young girls and boys, legal rights, right marriageable age, safe motherhood, child health, evils of increasing population, HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases, personal hygiene and first aid were covered. Apart from group discussion with the master trainers (usually school teacher) on these subjects, there was also one-to-one discussions with DIFPSA project manager to let girls talk about the 'forbidden' issues in a more casual manner.

Street plays, magic and movie shows were also organised on puberty and violence against youth. "The workshop concluded with the post-test to see how much girls and boys were able to learn through these sessions. And the response was tremendous. Over 95 per cent students managed to give 40 to 45 right answers in 50 questions, based on these topics. The feedback was also very good. Even the Muslim boys and girls wanted these workshops to be organised regularly," said Dr Meenakshi Tripathi.

Dr Tripathi said the CD show 'Badhatey badhatey Kutch hota hai' became quite popular among students. The girls were happy to learn about these issues and showed a lot of confidence in handling these delicate and sensitive issues. They were also eager to share this information with other members of their family.

"The entire workshop was conducted in a budget of Rs 2.56 lakh. Now we are planning to launch this programme in each of the 20 blocks in Allahabad.

At least five colleges in each block would be covered," she added.