Breakthrough is on a mission to make the sex ratio equal again and has started working on this goal with ‘Mission Hazaar’, a multi-pronged initiative that engages with people across Haryana – a state, which at 830 girls for every 1000 boys, has one of the country’s worst sex ratios.
Partnering with the Ministry of Women and Child Development under its national ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign, Breakthrough has reached out to 17.7 million people through community programmes and mass media in Haryana.
At the heart of our work in Haryana is the ‘Taaron Ki Toli’ programme, where we reach 18,000 school children across 150 government schools with a 3-year gender sensitisation curriculum in partnership with the Ministry of Education. In this programme, we work with both boys and girls together, to begin the process of questioning established gender norms, as well as build mutual respect and empathy.
In addition to the school programme, more than 2500 frontline health workers have been trained to combat gender-biased sex selection in communities and 10,000 plus youth have been enabled to work as champions of change by creating local campaigns to address the issue of sexual harassment in schools.
A research team from the acclaimed Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-Pal) has just finished a two-and- a-half- year evaluation (Randomised control trial) of our school programme in Haryana and the results are incredibly positive, indicating significant shifts in gender attitudes and behaviours of both boys and girls after being part of the ‘Taaron ki Toli’ programme. Interestingly, there are have been greater positive shifts in the boys’ behaviour than that of girls .Further evaluation of the behaviour index reveals that the intervention generated more interaction with the opposite sex and safer local travel for girls.
Having established that this is a proven model to change gender attitudes and behaviour, we are now working to expand this programme to other parts of the country. Our ultimate aim is to ensure that gender sensitisation curriculum is integrated into all schools across the country.