Kishori Abhijan

Kishori Abhijan (Adolescent Girls’ Expedition)
In 2012 CMES successfully completed third phase of ‘Adolescent Girls’ project launched in partnership with UNICEF a decade back in 2001 with a view to empowering adolescents by creating congenial environment for their healthy, social and mental development and ensuring joyful adolescence. Participating adolescents, youth and community members in intervention areas acted as agents of social change to enhance and facilitated collective action within communities for prevention of violence, abuse and exploitation against children and adolescents. Our adolescent boys and girls became role models in their community to show the positive result of taking part in decisions that affect their lives. The project successfully created a sustainable impact in the communities by creating a supportive environment for adolescent girls’ empowerment at household and community level.

During 2001 to 2006, the first phase of the project implemented aimed to empower adolescents (in particular girls but also including boys), to participate meaningfully in decisions that affect their lives and to become role models for the community and other adolescents by creating and sustaining a supportive environment for adolescent girls’ development at a household and community level.

During the second phase of the project, 2006-2010, CMES worked to improve the overall situation of adolescent girls and boys regarding their assertion of rights and empowerment through peer-pioneered actions and advocacy. The project provided a rich experience and a number of lessons learnt.

In third phase, Kishori Abhijan project changed its direction and implemented new ideas in programming by including programme components with Community based Child Protection Committee (CBCPC), Advance Adolescent groups, Change Makers Groups and adolescents sports. The project interventions have been carried out in intervening districts namely Rangpur, Borguna and Patuakhali.

After working to improve the overall situation of adolescent girls and boys regarding their assertion of rights and empowerment through peer-pioneered actions and advocacy in the second phase (2006-2010), CMES entered into the depth of programming by introducing Community Based Child Protection Committee (CBCPC) formation, Advance Adolescent groups, Change Makers Groups and piloting of Stipend Programme in this phase. The main objective of this project was to empower the adolescent girls by increasing knowledge level, awareness, participation in different social issues along with motivation and support for livelihood enhancement.

One of main aims of the Abhijan is to take the message of the gender equity and empowerment strongly to the community and make a real impact there. CMES does this through Adolescent Performance Troupe (APT) by conveying these message to the heart of the community through their interesting folk performances of songs and dances. Interactive Popular Theater is an innovative method has been added to APT.

The other specialty of Abhijan is the way it involved the parents and other duty bearers and social leaders with the activities of the project. There are very regular joint sessions of the adolescents with them to create a synergy. This project provided specialized training for the peer leaders not only in the advocacy activities but also in the technical knowhow for life skills, livelihood technologies etc. Moreover, the adolescent girls are now spreading themselves in distant areas to visit other groups and to perform in an open air theater in the center of Dhaka City, or to have an intensive retreat in Cox’s Bazar, Sylhet where they take up thematic workshops and learn about thematic campaign process.

To make the adolescents aware, knowledgeable and active in different social problems peer to peer sessions were held in weekly basis. 180 associations (having 30 members in each association) were formed in 4 units. In 2012, we provided 2 days refreshers training to the 1000 boy and girls who facilitated Life Skill Based Education (LSBE) sessions with their peers (around 8000 adolescents’ girls and boys) LSBE refreshers sessions.

Advanced Adolescent and Youth Organization (AAYO) is a self-help organization to create enabling environment for establishing women rights in the whole society. It has been working to raise mass movement through campaigning and creating awareness through networking with all quarters including Local Support Group (LSG), Local Government officials, NGOs and other local organization.