In a refresher workshop, 23 young women between
ages 15 and 22 draw and label the parts of the female reproductive
system and discuss ways to use the activity for further
learning. They are leaders in Prerana, a network of New Delhi
youth groups, sharing experiences in training others. Each
works with ten or more younger women, mostly recent
migrants from the countryside, providing information about
health and livelihoods and helping build their confidence to ask
questions, gain information and navigate their way in the world.
Today they are working on participatory exercises;
strengthening their knowledge and skills in reading, nutrition
and health; and role-playing to learn to be more assertive.
From a small start and with support from CEDPA and the
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Prerana has expanded rapidly,
broadening its mission and serving as a resource to similar
efforts elsewhere in the state and the country. Over the seven
years of the project, several hundred young women have participated.
Many have participated in meetings held by local
governments and have been sought out by national planners.
The young women’s confidence and mastery of their subjects
is obvious in their interactions with their families and
communities. One trainer’s proud mother is almost envious of
her daughter’s skills; she has never known such opportunity.
Previously reluctant to let her daughter leave the house without
a brother escorting her, she is now confident that the
young woman can take care of herself as she moves freely
around the community, works with neighbours and travels to
more distant meetings.
The programme’s success with adolescent girls led people to
demand a similar effort for boys, now under way for three years. See Sources