Two innovative Chhattisgarh initiatives got featured this week at the International Summit of Social and Behavioural Change Communication in Marrakech, Morocco.
These two initiatives, selected from thousands of entries from over 110 countries, are the ‘Yuvoday’ youth network in Bastar and the ‘Baapi’ program of grandmas in Dantewada districts. Both are initiatives of respective District administrations, supported by UNICEF.
‘Yuvoday’ youth network in Bastar district, with over 5,000 youth volunteers, acts as a bridge between the government and the people. Yuvoday youth ensures that people in remote forests and tribal villages get the benefits of government schemes and create awareness to reduce malnutrition, increase immunisation rates and prevent child marriage and child labour. The volunteers have facilitated the COVID vaccination of two lakh people, mohalla classes for one lakh children during COVID, and kitchen gardens in over 1000 villages.
Under the “Baapi Na Uwaat” program in the Dantewada district, ‘Baapis’ (grandmas in the local Halbi language) give tips to mothers and family members on childcare, food, breastfeeding, health, and nutrition. There is one Baapi in each of the 243-gram panchayats in the district. Baapis get support from village-level youth called ‘satrangi nayaks’ and ‘nayikas’.
The global SBCC summit, held in Marrakech on 5-9 December, was attended by over 1800 delegates from 110 countries around the world. The summit suggested efficient ways to use social and behavioural change (SBC) techniques to address global challenges, to reduce disparities in wealth, health, access, gender or education. A consortium of international organizations, including the Johns Hopkins Center, UNICEF, the American University of Beirut, and the Center for Public Health Practice, hosted the summit.
Siddartha Shrestha, UNICEF’s chief of SBC in India, and Chhattisgarh UNICEF specialist Abhishek Singh emphasised the Chhattisgarh models.