Bridging Information Gap
Across the globe, there exists a problem of lack of access to career information among girls, especially in rural areas because most rural schools have low or no access to any form of such information. School libraries are also non-existent or poorly equipped. Thus, access to career information by secondary school girls becomes almost impossible. Many end up in careers they have very little information on or even ones for which they have no abilities or interest.
Being in a job that one has no information, abilities or interest in, can lead to low productivity, drabness, frustration and low self-esteem. To avoid such an end to the schooling process, it is important for secondary school students to be provided with career information as part of their secondary school education which are important years in career decision making. Then, they can understand what different careers entail and whether they have got the abilities to fit in the career of their choice.
To positively and productively engage young people, Development Alternatives Group collaborated with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the Disha Chat initiative. This initiative aims to bridge the information gap early on, starting conversations on concepts as wide-ranging as empowerment, higher education, employability, apprenticeship and entrepreneurship among secondary and senior secondary schoolgirls. Development Alternatives has initiated Disha Chat sessions in selected government girls schools in the Delhi NCR region and aims to reach out to 10,000 girls across 40-45 schools.
A Bridging Information Gap (BIG) module has been prepared. This module details out the career information that would enable girls to understand the higher educational and career opportunities and the decisions that they must make in choosing careers, which should be commensurate with their abilities and talents. Employability and entrepreneurship are the other two components that are detailed out during the Disha Chat sessions, with a focus on various career options apart from the traditional ones. Details on apprenticeship programmes and government schemes available for girls and women in higher education, employability and entrepreneurship are also provided. To ensure sustainability and further assistance post the sessions, Development Alternatives has the provision of guiding students through tele calling facility as well as a counselling centre.
This project commenced in December 2016 and till date over 2000 girls have been provided information under the Disha Chat programme through the BIG module. Providing women and girls with access to the right career choices plays a vital role in improving family income as well as promoting economic growth and leads to overall empowerment of women. ■