Girls First - KGBV
In Bihar, India, 54% of women do not participate in any decision making of their own and 95% have less than 12 years of education. Girls are disadvantaged when it comes to their education, their bodies, and the autonomy to craft the futures they want for themselves. Family and community pressures lead many girls across the state to discount their self worth, in turn perpetuating a cycle of gender inequality, bias and poverty, which seeps into future generations.
WorldBeing India: Investing in Girls
WorldBeing’s Girls First - KGBV program was created in the belief that even highly marginalized and vulnerable girls can be powerful catalysts for social change. The Girls First - KGBV program works within Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs)—a national network of girls-only residential schools established in 2004 by the Government of India to help address gender and caste disparities in education.
Girls First - KGBV attendees are from ‘low’ castes, minorities, and/or from families below the poverty line; are typically the first generation to attend school; and are at risk for trafficking or marriage at 14-16 years of age. Since 2015, Girls First has empowered thousands of KGBV girls in Bihar to develop their resilience and inner wellbeing, set goals and advocate for their rights. Girls receive extensive training in topics such as character strengths, interpersonal communication, problem-solving, nutrition, reproductive health, and gender-based violence—all taught in facilitated peer support groups led by trained KGBV teachers just one-hour per week over the academic year.
A Girls First Future
Under an extensive multi-year agreement, WorldBeing is working in partnership with the Bihar Education Project Council to scale Girls First to 535 (100% of total) KGBVs across the state of Bihar by 2025. At scale, 50,000 KGBV girls will attend Girls First annually, as the program is institutionalized within government systems.
Girls First KGBV has yielded a number of positive impacts on psychosocial and physical health indicators for at-risk girls attending KGBV schools in Bihar, including:
- Health knowledge increased by 92%
- Emotional resilience increased by 29%
- Psychological wellbeing increased by 24%