Development of Learning Sites
During the course of the project Six Learning sites were developed at the district level. A practice based capacity building curriculum was designed and implemented. A total of 161 NGO representatives and Social Activists from eight states – Haryana, Bihar, M.P, Punjab, U.P, Rajasthan, Delhi and Gujarat participated in these learning sites. The learning site became a good ground for training and replicating various components of work done in the project
The first learning site workshop was organized in Alwar in April 2010 as a pilot. Civil society representatives from Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi, UP and Gujarat participated in this workshop. It also provided an opportunity to test how to package a learning site and make it learner-friendly. Some elements of the curriculum were also pre tested. It also gave an insight into how the information should be delivered.
“With the active involvement of the task force of NGOs, Advisory committee members and Health Officials, we can keep a check on sex determination, and collectively help in enforcing the law.” – Kunjilal Meena, District Collector, Alwar
Encouraged by the response from the first learning site CFAR decided to formalize the curriculum at the Second Learning Site workshop in September 2010.This was formally launched by the Health Minister of Rajasthan Sh. Aimaduddin Ahmad Khan on 28th September 2010 in Jaipur. The participants were drawn from civil society organizations and representatives of government. The curriculum was presented and its rationale, thrust and key elements were discussed in detail. The methodology included classrooms lectures, exercises, field visits and interactions with key government officials.
The Third Learning Site ( Jaipur/Jhunjhunu/Bhilwara) was organized in February, 2011 and brought together NGOs working across seven states. The approach was evolved further during this four-day Learning Site wherein conceptual presentations, sharing experiences and learning from each other was followed by hands on exercises around planning inspection of clinics, sensitizing advisory committee and auditing Form-F. The third day was devoted to intensive field visits and the fourth day concluded with future planning and debriefing. In this Learning Site a combination of testimonies, video, expert presentations were used.
The Fourth and Fifth Learning Sites were held in Jodhpur and Jaipur respectively in June-July 2011 and followed a similar pattern. It focused on evolving a Civil Society Network of Learners on Declining Child Sex Ratio and Sex Determination.
The final /Sixth Learning Site was organized in Jaipur in December 2011. It aimed at learning and transferring practical knowledge to the stakeholders working at Panchayat Samiti level in Rajasthan and build a wider network on the issue of sex determination, declining child sex ratio and violence against women( especially in the context of birth of a girl child ).
Discussions with participants who had attended the Learning Site made evident that the before attending the learning site they had little information on the PCPNDT Act, its implementation and extent of violation. It helped them understand in-depth the various aspects of the law. They felt that the learning site was well designed as it included both theory and practice. A participant from Gujarat was so charged after having attended the learning site programme that he went back to Surat and initiated a survey of sonography centres and collected information on violations.
Nathu Bhai an activist from Surat attempted to replicate the Rajasthan experience in Surat which has over 460 registered ultrasound centres. “Till I participated in a Learning site conducted by CFAR in September in Rajasthan, I did not know that the sharp decline in the number of girls is being caused by the misuse of a technology like ultrasound. We collected data relating to the number of girls at birth and also conducted a survey to ascertain the number of registered and unregistered ultrasound centres in Surat; to our surprise we found over 3 thousand machines being operated from unregistered places in the district. Consequent to this we conducted an audit of Form-F and shared the evidence with the Appropriate Authority. When they failed to respond to our findings, decoys were sent to suspected ultrasound centres with the help of the media.”
Tauhid Abbassi, Gramin Vikas Sanstha, Mau (U.P) shared that after participating and being informed on the PCPNDT Act and its implementation in July 2011 Learning site, he advocated with the District Administration and a Advisory committee meeting was held on September, 13, 2011. This resulted in the initiation of an awareness campaign against sex selection. Members were also designated to a committee to be part of inspections and to train the 22 owners and performing Medical Practitioners on the PCPNDT Act September, 2011.
Keeping in mind the challenges from the field, the project was restructured to address the social dynamics and larger issue of the status and rights of the girl child.