Adolescent Girls Program / 1

The Solution

Jagori Kishori Program: Adolescent girls as advocates for maternal and child health

The Adolescent Girls Program (Jagori Kishori) aims at enabling adolescent girls to act as change agents who stimulate community demand for Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition services. Frontline health workers find it difficult to conduct frequent follow ups with beneficiaries. Adolescent girls spread across villages can reiterate simple, but vital messages within their neighbourhoods. In the process, the girls also learn and grow in confidence.

From our experience, we discovered that the program is best delivered through the school system, with the support of teachers and the AAA. Since the adolescent girls are regularly in touch with the AAA, they can alert them of any cases requiring special attention.

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Status

Jagori Kishori was piloted in 350 villages in Rajasthan’s Jhalawar and Baran districts

* Jagori Kishori - Jhalawar

Pilot in Rajasthan

The Jagori Kishori program was implemented as a pilot across 350 villages of Jhalwar and Baran districts. The pilot involved around 700 adolescent girls that formed groups and visited beneficiaries allotted to them during their spare time. The girls delivered simple and vital health messages to critical beneficiaries in their neighbourhoods under regular guidance from frontline workers in their village. We saw immense energy and enthusiasm among the girls during the pilot.

"I am surprised that my pregnant neighbour doesn’t know when immunization is happening in the village. I have now started visiting pregnant women to share key health messages," said 15-year old Tinkle Meena from Chhatarganj village in Rajasthan during the pilot

Below are examples of key messages that were delivered by the girls –

  • Taking adequate care during pregnancy (e.g., avoiding exertion and heavy weights, frequent meals)
  • Consumption of Iron and Folic Acids provided by ANM (critical for controlling anaemia)
  • Planning institutional delivery in advance and alerting the free ambulance service
  • Exclusive breastfeeding of newborn for six months after birth
  • Regular growth monitoring of the child till the age of five through the anganwadi centre
  • Being aware of the child’s immunisation schedule, and attending the monthly immunisation-day held in the village

The pilot demonstrated the immense power of adolescent girls as change agents, and the need to channel that towards improving health outcomes. However, the scalability of the innovation remained a key challenge. While the school system is the most conducive means of facilitation, the school curriculum is usually crowded and teachers are overburdened. Front-line workers, who are essential stakeholders, have little time to spare. Without constant motivation from these influencers, sustaining the interest of girls is difficult. As we continue taking learnings from the pilot to develop similar interventions in other geographies, we welcome more ideas.

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Case Studies

A watchful eye


In Harnavada village, Ram Kunwar keeps a watchful eye on the women and children of her community, making sure to record insightful and important observations.

Off-late, she’s noticed one particular child constantly exhibiting signs of a possible deformity and experiencing constant bouts of illness. Upon some questioning, she found out that the child had not been vaccinated in time. There were also some vaccinations that had been completely missed out. Concerned, she has brought this issue to the notice of the ANM, who hopes that she will be able to help the little seven-month old. Without her notification, the ANM has admitted that she might never have found out about this issue, as she herself is an outsider in the village.

Rk With Ag

Now that she has received the information, she is looking forward to work with the AG to actively monitor the child. Driven by her own small success story, Ram Kunwar has expressed an interest in carrying out with the program even after she leaves school.

An adolescent girl shares her experience

The Jagori Kishori song