In 2008, our development department concluded the project, "Reproductive and Child Health Awareness in Four Villages of the Chirigaon Block of Varanasi District, Uttar Pradesh." Aimed at raising awareness on reproductive and child health, the project took place in the villages of Mokalpur, Mustafabad, Amba and Chhitauni and ran from May 2007 to April 2008. India’s high maternal mortality rate (MMR) and infant mortality rate (IMR) provided the incentive for this project. In order to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates, women and girls must receive education on the health care facilities available to them, and general social awareness must be raised on the importance of reproductive and child health, especially prenatal and antenatal care. This project targeted adolescent girls aged 12-28, married women aged 19-30 and the families of both groups, with a special focus placed on girls with limited education and hailing from marginalized sectors of society.
Project objectives included:
- Enhancing the knowledge of adolescent girls and their families on reproductive and child health
- Fostering a gender-just environment to enable women in decision-making, especially regarding personal health-related issues
- Improving women's access to health services
In each stage of the project, face-to-face contact in all four of the villages provided the opportunity to offer continual encouragement and support to women as they made crucial reproductive decisions, as well as allaying their fears and anxieties. Working one-on-one with women allowed the CSR team unique insight into the difficulties in or barriers to accessing prenatal care. Overall, the project’s greatest success have been evidenced in the outstanding number of women reached through relatively small-scale grassroots activities, and the number of women who during the course of the project chose to receive health care and services during and after their pregnancies.