Our strategic approach seeks to:
- use holistic and integrated intervention approaches, rather than fragmented single issue interventions;
- bring about sustainable change in behaviour by changing a critical mass during a two-to-five year intervention period focusing not just on individual behaviour but on social norms;
- develop and use resource persons from within communities to motivate change, so that they will continue to support change after intervention projects end;
- focus on youth as the starting point of change;
- collaborate with other agencies, rather than duplicate efforts; and
- make certain that interventions reach those who are most vulnerable.
Health Programs use a lifecycle approach providing inputs needed at specific life stages.
Agragami India’s adolescent program addresses youth in early and late adolescence, and seeks to change behaviours related to personal hygiene, nutrition and anaemia. Early adolescent girls, aged 12–14 years, are given education on menstrual health and hygiene.
Sexual and reproductive health education appropriate to their life stage is provided to late adolescents (15–19), to help them understand the changes and the processes of maturation and growth that they are experiencing. Adolescents are prepared for adulthood, marriage, planned child-bearing, spousal communication; and on how to communicate with parents on key life choices and decisions. Parents of adolescent are made aware of the development needs of adolescents. Parents are encouraged to understand and support the vulnerabilities of the adolescent. Special programmatic inputs are given to married adolescent girls to encourage delay of first birth till the age of 21 years. Special help and inputs are given to children who have difficulty in coping with studies at school, especially in Hindi, English and arithmetic.
Agragami India also provides adolescents with vocational guidance and information on educational and livelihood opportunities. They are assisted in applying for jobs, and in preparation for job interviews. Drop-outs are helped to join open school or university, and continue their education. Girls are also empowered with self-defence training. To know more about Self Defence Training, click here.
In 2017, Agragami opened the Bodhgaya Hotel School, which prepares young people from under-privileged backgrounds for employment in the hospitality industry. To know more about the Bodhgaya Hotel School, click here.
Nutrition programs are focused on three key stages of life: pregnancy and lactation; infancy (up to two years of age); and adolescence.
Maternal education emphasizes maternal and infant nutrition from conception to two years after the birth of the infant (the first 1000 days). Exclusive breastfeeding and timely and age-appropriate complementary feeding are emphasized. Mothers are taught to prepare pre-mixed powdered foods for infants, and to use sugar and fat to increase calorie density.
Monitoring the monthly growth of infants is used as a means of making mothers understand how to recognize whether their infant is growing optimally or not, and to take appropriate feeding action. Adolescents and their mothers are educated on what constitutes a balanced, nutritious and adequate diet, and also on how to prevent anaemia.
Child Survival Interventions
Universal infant immunization is a national goal, and Agragami facilitates access to infant and maternal immunization. It builds the capacity of front-line health workers to list all children, track immunization progress and follow-up with mothers for timely and complete immunization. Agragami also facilitates the mobilization of families to use immunization services for the survival and healthy development of their children.
Personal hygiene, hand-washing, and prevention and treatment of diarrhoeal disease are essential components of Agragami’s work for child survival.
Maternal Health Programs
Maternal health programs focus on women during pregnancy and post-partum, through home visits, group meetings, preventive health education and referral for services. Women receive information on nutrition, care during pregnancy, safe delivery and utilization of essential antenatal and post-partum services. Immediate and exclusive breastfeeding, complementary feeding, nutrition for the mother, and family planning to space subsequent births are promoted. Mothers and their infants are referred to antenatal, post-natal, immunization and family health services.
Family Planning Interventions
Family planning is a hugely powerful intervention, which not just protects the lives of mothers and their babies, but also liberates women and empowers them to take control over their fertility and their lives. It is a child development intervention — smaller families and well-spaced childbirths enable parents to give children the time, attention, nutrition and education that they need to thrive. Our programs recognize and address the pernicious issue of son preference.
Agragami India believes that the best time to address family planning is during adolescence, when young people begin to attain sexual maturity and think about their future. Family planning information is an important component of adolescent sexual and reproductive health programs. Adolescents are encouraged to think ahead on the shape and size of the family that they wish to have and are given frank and age-appropriate information on using contraception.
Newly-weds receive family planning information and encouragement to delay the first child; antenatal and post-partum women are encouraged to space children; and families with two or more children are encouraged to use long-acting or other methods to limit family size.
In August 2017, Agragami brought together 45 Bihar-based NGOs who are committed to working voluntarily for the achievement of FP 2020 objectives – 71.25 lakh new users of contraceptive methods in Bihar. Click to know more.
Hand-washing and personal hygiene training is emphasized. Environmental sanitation - solid waste segregation, disposal, clean drains and alternatives to open defecation are promoted, as is the use of government schemes for construction of toilets. Cooperative community action is emphasized.
Primary education in India is free and compulsory, but the system has not lived up to its promise. The process of failing in school starts early. Children in class 1 are unable to keep up with school work because their curriculum pre-supposes that they learned the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic in pre-school. Unfortunately most children from rural and low-income backgrounds have never attended pre-school. Government supported anganwadis are supposed to be pre-schools but function merely as mid-day meal centres.
Reliable studies of the state of education in India reveal that in rural and low-income areas, one in three children in class 1 needs private tuition; only half of the children in class 5 can read at class 2 level; and only 68% of children in class 8 can divide a three digit figure by a one digit figure.
Children from resource-poor settings and low-literacy families start with a massive learning disadvantage. Agragami’s education program lays the foundation for a successful primary education.
Pre-school classes - socialize children, introducing them to learning.
Children’s activity centres - give children the opportunity to read for pleasure at their own pace, from out of a selection of illustrated children’s books in both Hindi and English. Story-telling, drama and craft work related to the books that the child has read, help develop self-expression.
Foundation classes for 5 to 14 year olds - teach children all the Hindi and arithmetic that they need for a head start in primary school.
Adult Education - where women are interested in acquiring a primary education or continuing with school, they are encouraged to join open school and receive coaching to cope with the open school curriculum.
Vocational Guidance and Training for Youth
Sixty percent of young people discontinue school at class 8 or 10. They have little information on employment opportunities available and on how to prepare for them. Agragami organizes vocational guidance and access to vocational training through organizations supported by the National Skill Development Corporation or the Hunar va Rozgar program. It also organizes employer contact programs. Young people learn how to type, use the computer, write their CVs, and present themselves at an interview. They are assisted in preparing job applications.
In Delhi, Agragami has training centres for tailoring and beauty care. Our tailoring centre gives women the skills that they need to sew and earn from home and the beauty training enables girls to join beauty parlours or to serve clients at home. In Bodh Gaya, Agragami has set up a hospitality training school. All training centres aim at encouraging entrepreneurship.
A sewing instructor teaching drafting at tailoring school
Students at the hospitality training school
Mushroom production at home
Most women are looking for home based income generation activities that they can carry out in the few hours of free time that they have in the day. In Bodhgaya, Agragami works with and provides technical support to two hundred poor families, in taking up home-based, income supplementation activities such as kitchen gardening, mushroom growing, and goat and pig rearing.