The World Bank Board today approved the US$ 63 million Tejaswini: Socioeconomic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls & Young Women Project in Jharkhand, which will support adolescent girls and young women, ages 14-24, to complete their secondary level education and acquire relevant skills for the job market.
This is the first World Bank project in India that is solely focused on the welfare of adolescent girls and young women.
“The benefits of a country’s demographic dividend hinges on the productive employment of its working age population. In Jharkhand, an estimated 56 percent of young women (ages 15-24) are neither engaged in education, nor employment or training. Empowering these women through skills training and helping them complete their secondary education will improve their lives as well as allow them to contribute to Jharkhand’s development,” said Onno Ruhl, World Bank Country Director in India.
The project, which will support market-driven skills training and secondary education as well as broader socio-economic empowerment for adolescent girls and young women in 17 select districts of Jharkhand, is expected to benefit about 680,000 adolescent girls and young women. In the 17 project districts, there are about 2.1 million adolescent girls and young women in the 14-24 age group, of which 13 percent belong to Scheduled Castes and 25 percent to Scheduled Tribes.
The project will intervene at two levels – at the community and at the institutional level. The community-based platforms (“clubs” and “centers”) will hold regular counseling and guidance sessions, life skills education, livelihood support services, and provide information on, and access to, broader services and opportunities—especially on project-contracted training and courses for adolescent girls and young women. At the institutional level, it will work with partner institutions through performance-based contracts to deliver vocational training, business skills training, and non-formal education to a subset of adolescent girls and young women.
Non-government organizations (NGOs), too, have an important role to play in the project and will be responsible for delivering the community-level project interventions in the project areas.
“Life skills education and its activities will be a critical aspect of the community-level interventions under the project. As a result, even those adolescent girls and young women who do not opt for pursuing market-driven skills training or non-formal education courses will enjoy some degree of social and economic empowerment even from just participating in club activities and life skills education,” said Pravesh Kumar and Mathew Morton, Social Protection Specialists, World Bank and World Bank’s Task Team Leaders for the project.