ACTION RESEARCH ON GIRLS EDUCATION
Abhivyakti Media for Development is engaged in an action research project in three rural communities of Nashik and Dhule districts in Maharashtra on the issue of young womens education. Young women who have dropped from formal education will be in the forefront in conducting this research in their communities. The action-research aims to develop the capacities of the young women to deepen their understanding of research process that will enable them to understand their learning barriers, their learning aspiration, problems they encounter in formal education and what alternatives they have in mind which will make education accessible and meaningful. The action research is being supported by ASPBAE, Mumbai and UNESCO Institute of Lifelong Learning. The action research project is being organised simultaneously in India, Indonesia and Philippines.
They came with lot of hesitation, uncertainty and reticence to Devlali from three small villages of Dugoan and Kochargoan in Nashik and Nizampur in Dhule. For many of them, it was the first time they were stepping out of their villages. Save for a few of them, others had left school due to their socio-economic status. They were 22 in number. All of them had brought with them a bundle filled with tremendous enthusiasm, energy and curiosity. In the bundle were their unique stories, too – the untold stories of their struggle and endurance.
The reason for these girls to come together was a workshop on Gender, Education and Empowerment organised by ASPBAE (Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education), UIL (UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning) and Abhivyakti Media for Development, in the second week of August at the Leslie Sawhney Centre in Devlali, Nashik. The workshop was to build an understanding and skills of conducting action research on the issue of girls’ education in the three rural communities. The girls unused to talking freely in their own village setting, started participating through expressing their concerns and ideas. They were presenting their own context with clarity and confidence. Most of the girls who had dropped out of school was because of the vicious cycle of poverty, patriarchy and powerlessness.
The workshop focused on understanding of their lived realities, importance of communication to express themselves, , learning about what action research is and the norms and ethics of undertaking such a research. The workshop helped the girls to learn the skills of interviewing, observation, and formulating survey questions which they did with amazing thoughtfulness and insights. When the girls, who were earlier even shy and hesitant to say their names in public, , were at the end of the workshop sharing ideas of how to overcome their own problems with confidence!.
At the end of the four-day workshop, the girls were ready to initiate the action research in their own village on girls’ education – in the true sense the workshop had transformed them into ‘Shodhinis’(seekers).