Global Reach: Grantee Partners

Unnati ISEC

Context:

Scheduled Tribe, or Adivasi (i.e., indigenous) communities constitute 9% of India’s population - over 104 million people (as per 2011 census). They have historically been socio-economically disadvantaged, disproportionately affected by disproportionate access to education and opportunities for development. Literacy has prime value today. The question is: how to impart it without erasing Adivasi knowledge and value systems. The Article 350A of the Indian Constitution, gives every child the right to education in their own mother tongue. Studies show that multilingual education aids cognitive development and stimulates intellectual confidence much more effectively. Unnati ISEC has observed that among Adivasi communities it works with, the rate of out-of-school girls is more than boys not only because secondary schools are located farther away but also because they have more male teachers. As transportation is underdeveloped in such communities, girls are discouraged from travelling on their own and instead, are encouraged to partake in managing household chores.

Organization:

Founded in 2014, Unnati Institute for Social and Educational Change [Unnati ISEC] is a not-for-profit entity in Maharashtra (India) with a mission of improving access to formal school education to realize the fundamental right of all children (10-14) to quality education. Anchored in its focus on literacy, it promotes mother-tongue based multilingual education (MTB-MLE) at primary school level grades and sets up libraries within schools and communities in tribal communities. Their sustained work on MLE has begun receiving recognition from the state government of Maharashtra. The State Council for Education, Research and Training (SCERT) the apex academic authority, takes advice from Unnati ISEC on the language pedagogy for Tribal Youth. At the district level, the administrations motivate its functionaries to enroll in the library course prepared and offered by Unnati ISEC. Using a two-pronged approach of working with the school and community, Unnati ISEC is working towards enhancing the participation of both, school-going and out-of-school adolescent girls and young women in the age group of 10 to 24 years -- through the libraries.   

Current Grant:

EMpower's second grant to Unnati will continue the existing library programme in a Adivasi community (indigenous community) in an under-resourced geography (Shahapur block, Thane district in Maharashtra) and provide complementary education to improve reading levels, financial literacy, adolescent health, as well as 21st century life-skills to 150 school-going and re-enrolled girls and 50 boys (10-24) by setting up libraries within locally run government schools. The programme will also engage key stakeholders such as schoolteachers, school management committees, local health-care providers, self-help group representatives, and local self-governing bodies (gram panchayats) to improve school participation of girls in Thane.

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