Jagran Pehel, the strategic social initiative of Jagran Prakashan Ltd (JPL), last week launched the second phase of ‘Sapnon ko Chali Chhoone’ (SKCC), a college intervention programme targeted at young women in Bihar.
The current project is supported by the Bihar State Women Development Corporation under the Mukhya Mantri Nari Sashktikaran Yojna. This women empowerment project has created a milestone in the field of women empowerment in Bihar, where in the first project 50,000 girls were sensitised. ‘Sapnon ko Chali Chhoone’ (SKCC) was born in July 2009 out of an effort by Jagran Pehel and UNFPA to bring gender issues to the fore and empower college-going girls in Bihar.
The first phase of the programme covered 21 colleges in six districts – Patna, Ara, Jehanabad, Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur and Gaya. Two-day exhibitions cum gender fairs were organised in all the 21 colleges. Government departments, along with several local NGOs working in the space of women’s issues, actively participated and conducted information sessions and discussions for girls during the two-day event. Through various direct intervention and oberservations 50 girls were selected as ‘Champions of Change’ (local leaders) for mentorship and leadership development from different colleges of Bihar.
These ‘Champions of Change’ were not only felicitated by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at the state level, but were offered internships at Dainik Jagran, Bihar State Women Development Corporation, and study visits by UNFPA. Several workshops were conducted to train them in different aspects of project planning and execution. A mini grant of Rs 25,000 supported by UNFPA was given to each college groups for a project on ‘Anaemia in college going girls of Bihar’. After completion of the project, all the girls submitted a technical and financial report to the SKCC team. The first phase was over in January 2011.
Now, in the second phase, the project is being extended to five new districts of Bihar – Nalanda, Nawada, Begusarai, Samastipur and East Champaran. Fifteen colleges, three each in all the five districts, are being selected for the project. A two-day event interactive event in each college will be organised, comprising workshops, exhibitions, gender fair, an interactive session, counseling session with students and competitions like essay writing and poster making. The first day will have all the events, discussions and information sessions, while the competitions will be held on the second day. Several district level and state level NGOs will be participating in the gender fairs and the students will be sensitised to gender issues through discussions and other events. Over 20,000 students across the five districts would be sensitised towards gender issues; 30 ‘Champions of Change’ will be selected and mentored for leadership opportunities during the nine months of the project. The second phase will also select male students as local leaders and will try to understand how they can contribute to women empowerment.
To lead the second phase, IIM Calcutta graduate Sweta Sinha has joined after having seven years of work experience in the US.