Way back in 2006, Reach India started with a concept to cater to poor women and young girls with life changing education on public health areas, enabling them to transform as social change agents. Addressing and improving health outcomes have been the primary objective of our work, so long. But off late, we felt that we need to work on areas of emerging health concerns such as WASH, Universal Health Coverage for the tribal families, provide access to quality health education at the hard to reach areas and facilitate early childhood education for the rural communities. We also made conscious efforts to partner with the Government Development Programme initiatives where we can bring our educational offerings and outreach to larger target audience, enabling them to build futures of health and hopes. In the current year, we focused our efforts majorly in reaching out to tribal communities through mobile health platforms, use institutional communication medium like grassroots comics to spread effective health education amidst our target population, building WASH outcomes, and work with mothers, building their capacities in Early Childhood Care Education, which will help them to understand and take better care of their infants.

Earlier before 2010-11, Reach was recognized as a national level training organization. The cumulative training conducted by reach from 2006 -07 to 2009-10 is as follows

This year total 79 trainings have been delivered on different issues with the 390 SHPIs which include 1338 participants. In total with the support of SHPIs 71125 SHGs and a million members will be trained. The below Break up will help us to understand the training scenario in each vertical.

Training Issue

Training Issues

No. of Trainings

Health

Learning Games for Girls, HIV/AIDS & Sexual & Reproductive Health

45

Livelihood Generation

Accessing Rural Employment (NREGA) , Plan for Better Business

20

Financial Inclusion

Social Performance Management for SHG Promoters, SHG Formation

14

Reach India along with its 11 service centers focuses to provide health education, livelihood promotion as well as knowledge about Financial Inclusion in different states of India. Among the 87 trainings:

Training Issue

Training Issues

No. of Trainings

Health

Learning Games for Girls, HIV/AIDS & Malaria

41

Livelihood Generation

Accessing Rural Employment (NREGA) , Plan for Better Business

32

Financial Inclusion

Social Performance Management for SHG Promoters

14

 

Total 1416 participants from 397bSHPIs were involved out of which 312 were receiving training for 1st time. Through these SHPIs, 75940 SHGs which consists 265791 women will be trained on the any of the above mentioned issues.

Since the initiation of Reach India’s first franchise service centers 39 training were conducted which focuses to provide health education, livelihood promotion in different states of India. Among these 39 trainings:

Training Issue

Training Issues

No. of Trainings

Health

Learning Games for Girls, HIV/AIDS 3

Livelihood Generation

Accessing Rural Employment (NREGA)

36

Total 553 participants from 259 SHPIs were involved out of which 259 were receiving training for 1st time. Through these SHPIs, 37231 SHGs which consists 130309 women will be trained on the any of the above mentioned issues.

Details of Health Intervention

Access to Water and Sanitation Services through installation of solar powered water systems in rural schools of Assam

Donor: Gram Vikas & ICCo India

Type of Grant: Project Grant

Focus Area: Assam

From 2014 onwards, Reach was working in partnership with ICCO Netherlands and ICCo India in thematic areas of livelihoods, pro-poor value chain and food security, when an opportunity emerged to work on the issue of water and sanitation in schools of Jorhat, Assam providing access to clean, drinking water; better sanitation facilities.

Reach worked with two schools- Sankar Vidyapith at Titabar, and Melamati School in Jorhat. Both schools provides quality education to approximately 800 students mostly belonging to the low income households. The latter had no provisions of running water facility and storage tanks. Based on the recommendations of the feasibility study, solar powered RO and water heating system were installed in the schools. The water system being inaugurated on 31st March, has helped a lot to resolve the drinking and sanitation water issues and also provided an access to clean, safe potable water.

Link tribal communities of Jamtara, Jharkhand with Universal Health Coverage services

Donor: Healthy World Foundation, USA

Type of Grant: Project Grant

Focus Area: Jamtara, Narayanpur and Fatehpur districts of Jharkhand

Reach India, an ongoing partner of Healthy World Foundation, have been instrumental in bringing  positive changes in the lives of 200 tribal families of Jamtara district, Jharkhand by imparting lifechanging health education through a user-friendly mobile based application and provide counseling and referral services. A cadre of 20 community resource person was trained who delivered services at the doorsteps of the families.

In the current phase, Reach made conscious efforts to build linkages with the Department of Health & Family Welfare by linking this service with the ongoing Government initiatives and Universal Health Coverage services. Reach created mass awareness through social mobilization drives, used grassroots comics as the medium and communicated health messages in an effective way so as to reach a larger target audience. These efforts were appreciated by the district health department and linked with the mobile medical units (MMUs) that were visiting the hard to reach areas and functioning sub-optimally presently. With the increased awareness, it enabled the communities to freely access the health services, immunization and other products like distribution of iron tablets, pathological services, ANC checkups, distribution of generic medicines etc, that were available in the MMUs.

Reach also conducted a thorough survey on “Assessing service availability, accessibility & quality of health services” and based on the recommendations plans to make some strategic changes in the upcoming phase, where it will focus more on health check-up camps, follow up support, as the target villages lack proper diagnosis of symptoms and availability of doctors on call.

Extending Early Childhood Care Education (ECCE) in villages of Murshidabad, West Bengal

Donor: Hands to Heart International through Thrive networks

Type of Grant: Project Grant

Focus Area: Murshidabad

Murshidabad being one of the poverty endemic districts of West Bengal has high infant mortality rates compared to the State. Reach has it’s presence in the district and have been nurturing, strengthening SHG mothers in the area by imparting health education on reproductive and sexual health, working with their daughters on menstrual health and hygiene issues.

During the period of engagement, Reach felt the need to impart education and information related to new born care, early childhood issue, cognitive development and collaborated with a US based organization Hands to Heart International, to field test and roll out a pilot on Early Childhood Care Education. The main objective was to educate the SHG mothers, non-SHG mothers and other expecting women in the community with children in the age group of 0-3 years. Five community resource persons were trained on the module and imparted the education to the mothers, grandmothers and daughters in the families. The module emphasized on pertinent issues such as brain development process, signs, language, cognitive development aspects and reached out to 600 community mothers.

 

Gram Varta: A project to provide health, nutrition and sanitation education to women SHG members through WDC promoted federation staff: Health Education

Donor: Women Development Corporation, Bihar

Type of Grant: Project Grant

Focus: Bihar

Reach, a technical partner of Women Development Corporation (WDC), Bihar and Bihar Technical Assistance and Support Team (BTAST) in the DFID supported Gram Varta project, have been instrumental in building capacities of its women membership based Federations across districts of Bihar in areas of health, nutrition and sanitation. Gram Varta is a participatory learning based module which comprise of 20 community meetings that open up a community dialogue and disemminate powerful messages on the subject matter. Reach initially piloted the module in 11 districts and in the current year was commissioned by the Department to scale up the project in another 11 districts, thus reaching out to 22 districts in Bihar in three phases of implementation.

The programme imparted three-tier training structure, thus creating trained resource pools at the State, District and Federation levels, complimented with village level cascade of the meetings and continuous handholding & MIS support.

It was in this phase that a formative research study has been commissioned to understand the health outcomes and its inclusiveness across the target communities. Reach is also developing additional training sessions on prevention of alcohol and smoking that will be included in the training module.

Facilitating & Strengthening Rajiv Gandhi SABLA in Odisha

Donor: UNICEF

Type of Grant: Project Grant

Focus Area: Odisha (9 Sabla Districts)

UNICEF, Odisha engaged Reach as its technical support partner to facilitate smooth implementation and monitoring of ongoing Rajiv Gandhi SABLA programme across 9 districts of Odisha. The aim of the programme was to empower out of school adolescent girls through health and nutrition education, provide access to distribution of nutrition components, and impart life-skills trainings, thus improving their nutrition and health status, enhance skills and capacities to make informed choices.

Reach was given the task of regularizing flow of reports on a monthly, quarterly basis from CDPOs to Districts to State, quality check of such reports, developing micro-plans, making the effective use of Saturday session meetings, building capacities of the frontline workers, and impart life-skills training to the community resource person of implementing NGOs.

Reach was able to build a strong and effective convergence involving the key stakeholders- Department of Health & Family Welfare facilitating free supplies of Iron and Folic Acid (IFA) tablets, access to health checkups and referral services;   Department of Schools and Mass Communication extending support for mainstreaming of Out of School drop-out adolescent girls; Department of Handicrafts, Handlooms and Cottage Industry for imparting need specific vocational trainings; District Employment Mission and ORMAS to facilitate suitable employment opportunities and market linkages, post completion of vocational trainings.  Reach also ensured regular coordination with the implementing NGOs and trained their filed workers on life-skills training, which in turn was cascaded to the adolescent girls under their folds. An effective and structured mechanism was developed ensuring proper reporting and documentation of district level review meetings, microplans, and monitoring of the quality health & nutrition services. During the project closure and dissemination workshops, a marked increase in the reporting, monitoring services were observed.

Wage project

Reach India has been supported by The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, USA& Thrive Educate, Thrive Networks, USA to promote reproductive sexual health and rights based education in Bihar, Jharkhand and other geographical areas such as Odisha, Assam, West Bengal. Reach has been able to touch the lives of 141,054 women and 61,748 adolescent girls in this programmes. Through this intervention, Reach reflected on its present work model, consolidated the learning and reflected upon to develop a refined strategic approach. Engagement with the large flagship programmes, government agencies as well as local organisations and partners to ensure quality health outcomes at the community and local levels is the way ahead.

Health skill development of tribal women in Jamtara

pictureReach is implementing a pilot project on health and life skills development of tribal women and their families using mobile based interactive platform for education, counseling and real time data collection from the year 2012. The project caters to 4000 families atJamtara, Narayanpur, Fatehpur blocks of Jamtara District, Jharkhand with support from Health World Foundation, USA and technical partner DIMAGI. The focus is to create a strong cadre of 20 health soldiers who are the animators of three partner SHPIs through their capacity building on adolescent sexual reproductive health, women sexual reproductive health, child health, sanitation and nutrition. During the year, capacity building of partner local organisations like Prabala Samaj Sevi Sanstha, Dridh Sankalpa and Gram Sewa Trust was done, by imparting training and handholding support to the frontline health workers. Reach is currently planning to build linkages with the Health Department, National Health Mission Government of Jharkhand to enable the women to access informed choices.

RG Sabla project in 9 districts of Odisha

Reach India in partnership with UNICEF, Odisha is providing facilitation and technical support to Rajiv Gandhi SABLA programme across nine (9) districts (Bhadrak, Cuttack, Puri, Sundergarh, Gajapati, Bargarh, Koraput, Mayurbhanj, Kalahandi) of Odisha. The project enables and empowers adolescent girls of 5-11 years and 12-19 years of age with enhanced self-esteem, improved nutritional and health status, enhanced vocational skills and building their capacities to exercise informed choices. As a part of the interventions Reach concentrated its efforts on monitoring, evaluation, reporting, documentation, building capacities of district officials, implementing organisations and creating inter departmental/ sectoral convergences. 726 district officials have been trained on reporting and documentation. Reach imparted life skills education to the frontline workers of implementing organisations using the Learning Game for Girls module(an interactive and intelligent game stimulating session based module that motivates young adolescent girls to understand life skills, menstrual health, personal hygiene and engage in the decision making process of family), which have been highly appreciated and found useful. The programme helped the districts to develop their microplans, strengthen village health, sanitation and nutrition committees. In the next phase Reach will explore possibilities of linking the schemes with other health programmes and strengthen the vocational skill buildingaspect. SABLA Programme has the potential to become an important platform for inter sectoral convergence among key government departments and UNICEF programmes to empower adolescent girls, reduce gender and social inequities, and break the inter-generational cycle of under nutrition and deprivation in India. The execution mode of SABLA Program demonstrates appropriate leadership and programme action can successfully scale up evidence-based nutrition programmes for children and women.

Gram Varta project

Reach is providing technical support to Women Development Corporation, Government of Bihar in implementing a project called “Gram Varta” across 11 districts in 3 phases where knowledge is transferred through participatory learning and appraisal mode. A pool of 30 master trainers are in place who have been trained by Reach and these master trainers provide support in imparting training to district and block officials, provide follow up support at the block level review meetings and at the SHG meetings. Bihar Technical Assistance and Support Team (BTAST) provides technical assistance.

Early childhood development project in Murshidabad

Reach India partnered with Hands to Hearts International, USA for testing a module on early childhood education for the mothers with 0-5 years age children and pregnant women. The module emphasizes on aspects like role and responsibility of caregivers, physical development, social-emotional development, baby cues, language, cognitive development, baby massage, health, hygiene and safety measures. The programme was implemented in 3 villages of Raghunathganj 1 & 2 blocks of Murshidabad district in West Bengal State reaching out to 45 mothers and care givers who are actively involved in the women self help groups. The field testing and subsequent focus group discussions highlighted the relevance of the module as none of the present health service providers including Anganwadi workers or ASHAs are delivering education on the cognitive development or child growth processes other than nutrition, dietary measures or growth monitoring. These 45 trained mothers of three villages- Barala, Naith, Secendra suggested that there should be more such initiatives in the villages to impart training and knowledge and sensitise communities on the subject of early childhood education. Reach has ambitious plans to implement this programme for a longer period of intervention in Murshidabad district, West Bengal and Bihar in near future.

Reach India partnered with the Action Northeast Trust (ANT) in the community health programme. The organisation ANT with its headquarters in Chirang District of Assam works with a focus on women health issues, gender based discrimination, livelihoodand disability. Reach organised Training of Trainers (TOT) for 25 field level animators at Bongaigaon in Bongaigaon district, Assam on learning games for girls, who in turn cascaded the knowledge to the adolescent girls in their programme areas. The training involved game based activities and spreading messages in form of short games, songs, skits, the adolescent girls were enthused to learn and practice the information gained within their communities.

Reach India in collaboration with the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, USA is implementing a project with focus on young women and adolescent girls .The project outreaches to all operational States with special focus on Bihar (Nalanda, Banka, Samastipur) and Jharkhand (Jamtara, Pakur). The project ensures to reach SHPIs with new educational offerings, reach out to women and girls with life changing health education focusing on public health indicators and create evidence building through project performance monitoring. Reach is involved in designing new offerings like “We have rights” and “Understanding the services of NRHM” with effective transmission of trainings to partner SHPIs like local NGOs, Government Departments, Program Implementation Agencies through TOTs which is then passed to the community through SHG platform in cascade mode. The project initially sanctioned for the period of April 2012 to February 2014 will need no cost time extension till September 2014 in order to complete some of the deliverables.
Through the project Reach have been able to create a strong cadre of community level champions in form of SHG leaders with capacities on public health topics and cascading the education to other indirect beneficiaries.

Gram Varta Kendra

Supported by Women Development Corporation, Bihar and under the technical support of Bihar Technical Assistance and Support Team (BTAST), Reach have been associated as a capacity building and implementation agency under Gram Varta Program, which aims to reach out to 22 federations in 22 blocks of 6 districts (Aurangabad, Rohtas, Khagaria, Gaya, Patna and Jehanabad) in Bihar with effective messages on health, nutrition, sanitation and preventing common illnesses. Gram Varta is a Women’s Self Help Group (SHG) based intervention which uses a participatory learning and action approach for improving health, nutrition, water and sanitation related outcomes at the community levels.

Objectives:
  1. Ensure strong nutrition focus through institutional and programmatic convergence by integrating it in the planning, implementation and supervision process in all relevant direct and indirect interventions / programmes
  2.  Increase availability and accessibility of key maternal and child health, nutrition and sanitation services at all levels through convergence of key flagship programmes
  3. Bridging critical gaps in inter-departmental programmatic and institutional arrangements for addressing maternal and child health, nutrition, sanitation at National, State, District, Block and Village levels leading to harmonized community based action plans
  4. Enhance the capacities and skills of service providers, care givers, voluntary action groups, mothers’ group and communities at large
  5. Ensure convergent multi-spectral actions for empowering families and communities for improved care, behaviors such as exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and optimal IYCF, health, hygiene, pshycho-social, early learnings and care for girls and women

Reach plays the role of creating a strong cadre of 30 state level master trainers through continuous capacity building and mentoring support who are providing supportive supervision to the WDC officials like block coordinators, federation executives and other block officials in implementing Gram Varta. Reach is also collecting the best practices and case studies which will be published as an evidence building report focusing the impacts of the program.

Health Skill Development Project

Reach is implementing a pilot project at Jamtara, Narayanpur, Fatehpur blocks of Jamtara District, Jharkhand under current support of the Healthy World Foundation, USA with the focus to create a strong cadre of health soldiers who are the animators of partner SHPIs through capacity building on adolescent sexual reproductive health, women sexual reproductive health, access to services and entitlements present under different Government Schemes and flagship programs. These health soldiers will be the community level resource cascading health education, counselling support and cascade health messages to the low income families who has limited access to information and affordable services.
Presently Reach has added a new technology partner DIMAGI, which is a US based open source software developer company who has added a new dimension to the project under the mobile based health services. DIMAGI has developed a user friendly android based software CommCare which will help the health soldiers to deliver health education, counselling messages, conduct health surveys through their mobile handsets at the community level thus easing the process of training delivery and also capture real time data both offline and online which slowly build into the overall MIS of Reach. DIMAGI has supported Reach with 10 handsets preloaded with the software for the team of the health soldiers and imparted the technology training for Reach project team and community based health soldiers.

Women’s and Adolescent Girls Empowerment (WAGE) program in India (under Packard supported Grant)

Reach India reaches out to 4,00,000 lakh women and adolescent girls with high impact life changing education in the states of West Bengal, Odisha, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and all the eight North Eastern states. Major focus is in Bihar and Jharkhand to empower women and girls socially and economically to make informed choices about their health and well being, including their reproductive health and rights.

Developing interactive learning tools for frontline workers in Bihar

The project supported by BTAST, enabled Reach India to develop an interactive and innovative tool for the front line workers which they can use in the community while giving the health education. Reach India provided the training to the 80 AWW in TOT mode in two phases in two blocks of Haspura and Jalalgarh in Aurangabad and Purnea District respectively.

After the ToT they disseminated the training education among their fellow AWW in the district. This was followed by the cascading of the education in the community. The whole process of training and cascading was monitored and handholding support was provided by Reach India.

80 out of 204 total AWW were trained directly by Reach India. Total of 3876 no of community members including Pregnant women, lactating women and adolescent girls were reached through the program.

Healthy World Foundation (HWF), Jharkhand

The Health Skill Development of Rural Women is being implemented in the district of Jamtara, Jharkhand with support from Healthy World Foundation. They reached out to 3000 families and an additional 2000 adolescent girls with health and life skill education. The model also created a cadre of health soldiers who impart health education to families, establish linkages with existing health services and promote usage of health products.

Health & Life Skills:

Reach India’s Learning Games for Girls (LGG) has been very popular training module amongst young girls and field animators of SHPI’s. This training uses games, stories, skits, songs, rhymes and dialogue to encourage learning, while building girls’ self-confidence, solidarity and opportunity to connect with other girls. The games prepare adolescent girls to become healthy, informed adult women who are able to seize opportunities and contribute as empowered members of their families and communities

During the year we conducted 19 trainings for SHPI field animators on LGG and they cascaded to 21,000 young girls. Only Bihar & Jharkhand alone we were able to reach out to more than 10,000 girls.

In Bihar we trained 58 field animators were trained on LGG and they cascaded the education to 7600 girls in 476 adolescent groups. Reach service centres provided 15 follow up supports to these animators for quality cascading. In Jharkhand we reached out to2600 adolescent girls on LGG.

Success Story: Shy No More           

Babli, 15, Village: Kharipar District: Banka, Bihar

In the village of Kharipar, we spoke with around ten girls about their experience with the LGGs. Babli is 15 years old girl. During a visit to the villages we had a conversation with her. Many of the topics covered in the LGGs can be touchy, difficult, and awkward to talk about. Like with the other three villages we visited, the community was hesitant about the LGGs until they were able to watch and participate. Not only did the girls and community seem to enjoy the LGGs, they wanted to know more.

Besides Hand-washing and diarrhea, Babli and the girls around her agreed that Know Your Body was one of their favorite LGGs. She said the information covered was important, but it left her hoping for more. She suggested having different games for each of the categories covered: menstruation, pregnancy, etc. She also would have liked to know more about HIV/AIDs. The animator and girls said more pictorials would’ve been helpful in teaching and learning.

At the end of my time in Kharipar, Babli stood up and taught me a dance. Her confidence surprised and impressed me. If this confidence is achieved by all the women of Bihar, the condition of their state will greatly improve.

Health Education

Over the last year Reach India organized 32 trainings on Health Education on modules like Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health, Learning Games for Girls (LGG) Preventing HIV/ AIDS etc.

Learning Games for Girls (LGG), Women Development Corporation (WDC), Bihar

In 2010-11 Reach India reached out to more than 24,000 young girls in the age group of 10-19. Out of this, in Bihar alone, the organization reached out to 8000 girls with the support of WDC, Bihar and OXFAM, India.

The project emphasized on building on the current portfolio of innovative Learning Games to address issues critical to adolescent girls, including malnutrition, anaemia, maternal and infant mortality, high fertility associated with early marriage, and social support to safeguard girls within the home and broader community.

Reach India seeks to advance access of poor women and adolescent girls to critical social and economic resources, especially in rural Bihar where the problem is more acute due to low levels of literacy among the girl child, high incidence of child marriage and early pregnancies. In collaboration with WDC, Reach India strengthened the capacities of the field staff with high impact training solutions to offer more and better services to young adolescent girls. This included training animators of three women federations of WDC in Maner, Smastipur and Dalsingh sarai blocks of Bihar to strengthen Adolescent Girls’ Groups.

With WDC support, 37 animators were trained as community resource trainers, who in turn cascaded LG to more than 4000 adolescent girls in Maner, Smastipur and Dalsinghsarai blocks of Sitamarhi district to strengthen Adolescent Girls’ Groups and promote good health practices, life skills, knowledge and training to address their evolving needs.

The animators not only acquired the necessary skills of trainers but also exhibited traits of adolescent learning principles i.e. sensitivity to the girls and negotiation with parents of adolescent girls in order to create an environment conducive to discussing matters of concern.

Additionally, this project provided an opportunity to forge linkages with other government departments like health and education for meeting the health needs of adolescent girls.

Learning Games for Girls (LGG), Bihar & Assam, Oxfam India

Additionally, 2200 girls were reached in three district of Assam- Nalbari, Chirang and Goalpara through four SHPIs – DISHA, Gramya Vikash Mancha, Pancharatna Gramya Bikas Kendra and Ajagar Social Circle.

Transformation of information dissemination into behavioral change has been well demonstrated by the Learning Games for Girls module. The girls are demonstrating positive behavior towards hand washing, use of ORS for prevention of diarrhea, use of local fruits and leafy vegetables as an element of balanced diet, discussion on HIV/AIDS, menstruation, pregnancy and age of marriage. The positive behavioral change on financial literacy of adolescent girls in terms of prioritizing expenditure and making a savings plan has been well captured through base line and end line data.

By the end of the year, 64 participants of which 30 animators were from 4 SHPIs in Assam and 34 animators were from 2 SHG federations in Bihar were trained as community resource trainers on LGG and they in turn cascaded the LGG to 4200 adolescent girls. The training covered health issues such as prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diarrhea, malnutrition, anemia, and HIV/AIDS. It focused on hygiene and nutritional needs, concept of a balanced meal, hand-washing with soap to prevent infections and illnesses, use of ORS etc. The girls were also capacitated on planning a budget and on ways of saving.