According to the 2011 census, Haryana’s Jhajjar district reported a child sex ratio of 774 compared with the national average of 914 and the state average of 830. At the time of launch of the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign in 2015, the child sex ratio was 825.
The Mhari Lado campaign was started in an effort to improve child sex ratio at birth, enable girl child education, and promote women welfare in Jhajjar. Ms. Sonal Goel IAS also received the Dr. Kalam Innovation in Governance Award 2019 for the project.
Ms. Sonal Goel is a 2008 batch IAS officer who worked as the Deputy Commissioner, Jhajjar, Haryana. She was also selected in top 25 women transforming India by NITI Aayog, United Nations and MyGov in 2016. Ms. Goel is currently appointed as the Additional Chief Executive Officer, Faridabad Metropolitan Development Authority (FMDA).
About the Mhari Lado Project
The project is implemented through various initiatives in Jhajjar. The district has been successful in enforcing the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act by regular raids, developing collaboration between the police department, health and district administration. A review by Deputy Commissioner is held monthly through District Task Force meeting.
Advocacy and awareness workshops are organised for school girls, college-going girls, and women of villages on issues like health, sex ratio, girl child etc. 50 Panchayats with low performing sex ratio have been identified by the Women and Child Welfare and Health departments and regular engagements with various stakeholders are organized through talks, events and fairs.
Often Kuan Pujan, Kalash Yatra and Thaal Bajana were the activities that celebrate the birth of male child in the villages. To break this traditional custom, kuan pujan, kalash yatra, thaal bajana have been started for celebrating the birth of girl children in Jhajjar. Moreover, mothers of girl child receive recognition by the Deputy Commissioner.
Improving Girl Child Education
To improve education and the learning level of girls, various programs have been initiated by the district. District Administrators also make regular visit to check quality of teaching and infrastructure of government schools in the district. Special efforts have been made towards the education of the Girl Child, especially in rural areas.
To counter the challenge of school drop outs, Jhajjar initiated a pilot project called ‘Umang-Ek Pehel’ where adolescent girls in government schools are provided with free of cost sanitary napkins and awareness workshops on menstrual health management. The sanitary pads are produced by a Self-Help Group in the district. This has effectively reduced dropouts, improved attendance rates and motivated girls to come to school.
Partnership for the goals
The Jhajjar administration has collaborated with NGOs and civil society bodies to create a greater impact towards women empowerment in the region. Project Jagriti, is one such example where District Administration has taken ownership in role modelling for the state in building strong partnership with external agencies to promote welfare of women and girls.
Community mobilization and engagement is being done for implementation of all initiatives to reach out to maximum sections of society. For monitoring, various committees at district upto block levels have been formed. For addressing the issue of financial resources constraint, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funding is being attempted in several projects.
Jhajjar District has been declared 1st ‘Saksham’ District that has been able to achieve grade level competence in its schools. Political will and commitment are major drivers for the implementation of citizen welfare projects, which has been very forthcoming starting from the Chief Minister upto the elected representatives at Panchayat level.