Mana bidda(Our Child)
In the last 10 years, a girl child has become more and more unwelcome in Kadapa – the girl child ratios have dipped from 954 to 918. This is about 200000 girls being killed either before or after birth in the small district. The reasons are many, right from the perceived economic value of a girl to potential reduction in family wealth due to dowries to reduction in social status. In this worsening situation, our vision was to create awareness and conversations to dispel all of the supposed reasons. Our aim was to celebrate our sheroes to dispel the myths that girls are a burden.
Translating to “Our Child Our Life,” Mana Bidda promotes the idea that every child is valuable, worthy, and important, regardless of gender. As a design, ‘Mana Bidda’ project aimed to change the conversations and attitudes in collaboration with the civil society – District Administration, Local Politicians, District Law and order, Local religious leaders and local bodies at the village level. In year 1, the project has built strong synergies with the district administration by aligning with Pre-Conception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PC-PNDT) committee and Beti Bachao Beti Padao project.
This project has become an active partner with the district police and the entire police force leadership. Politicians from across the spectrum, both ruling party and opposition have aligned themselves to the project and have been vocal in local meetings. Religious leaders from all the major religions were sensitized to the issue through a workshop and have pledged to work on the issue.
In order to reduce the infant mortality and improve sex ratio in the district, series of Sensitization workshops were conducted which allow for various groups of people to take ownership and responsibility of their role within the Mana Bidda project, understanding the practical, legal, and emotional ramifications of infanticide and feticide.
1. Conduct Village Meetings to Increase Legal Awareness and Leadership Skills – About 470 meetings against the target of 450 meetings (104 %) were conducted in new villages across 51 Mandals in Kadapa district.
Village Meetings require a number of activities to attract and engage participants.
These activities include a) Healthy Baby Shows,
b) Sreemanthams (a form of blessing for pregnant ladies)
c) Birthday Celebrations for local 1-year-olds.
2. Leadership and Development training.
3. Employability Skill Building training for Women
4. Increase the Number of Male Feminists as Partners
5. Recruitment of Volunteers
6. IVR and SMS platform to provide legal, medical, social & psychological support to pregnant women and young mothers
7. Lobbying and Advocacy Efforts to Fill Gaps in the Existing Laws and Policy Framework Identified and Necessary Legislative and Policy Changes Articulated
8. Psycho-social support to children and pregnant women increased
9. Conduct counselling Training
10. Sensitization for Religious Leaders, Local Leaders and Community Leaders
11. Sensitization workshops for health professionals