Working Towards Female Empowerment in Maharashtra, India - Girls Gaining Ground

By Amber Baker, Mutsumi Nakagami, Tara Noronha, Katherine Potaski, & Emily Puckart

This is a study of the Girls Gaining Ground (GGG) program conducted by a team from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University. GGG is a pilot intervention Bhavishya Alliance, a multi-sector partnership aimed at reducing the rate of child undernutrition in Maharashtra, India that Synergos helped create.

With a strong focus on girls in rural and urban slum areas, GGG empowers adolescent girls to make informed decisions about their health in order to prevent undernourishment in their generation and their future families. GGG creates a safe space for girls to spend time together with an educated female facilitator from their community. The facilitators themselves benefit from the GGG program, and experience positive transformation as a result of participating in the facilitator trainings and teaching the GGG curriculum. GGG provides invaluable information on health and personal hygiene that helps the girls to better understand their bodies.

Another key element of the curriculum is the provision of information about existing government services and encouraging the girls to demand these services. GGG empowers the girls and the community by exposing gaps in these services that may
otherwise have not been addressed.

Finally, high levels of empowerment through GGG also lead to community action; many GGG participants become engaged community members.