Dasra Girl Power Awards is India’s first ever attempt to empower adolescent girls

Dasra, India’s leading strategic philanthropy foundation announced the launch of the Dasra Girl Power Awards. According to a statement issued by the foundation, the awards, which total an amount of Rs 300,000, will recognise and support high impact institutions that work towards empowering adolescent girls in India. With several entries filling in, non-profit organisations across the country have until December 8, 2013 to apply for this one of a kind award, which will be announced early next year.
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Vulnerable group
Despite their numbers, the 113 million adolescent girls in India are a largely invisible and vulnerable group. India is home to the largest population of child brides, 60 percent of the three million sex workers are young girls, 95 percent girls drop out of schools by age 15 in leading states and over 50 percent of them face domestic violence.
Speaking about the issue, Neera Nundy, Partner Dasra, said: “Most programmes either focus on issues, such as education or health, or children or older women. Adolescent girls are a frequently overlooked beneficiary group when it comes to programme design or focus. With the Dasra Girl Power Awards, we are aiming at building urgency around issues faced by adolescent girls and establish the need to focus on their empowerment. What is more, investing in girl specific programmes translates into better futures for women, children and families thereby creating intergenerational impact”.
Empowerment
The Awards are part of Dasra’s larger focus on adolescent girl empowerment. In fact, early this year, Dasra launched a five-year, $ 14 million initiative in collaboration with USAID and Kiawah Trust that seeks to achieve systemic change by fostering innovation, improving outcomes and reaching scale to improve the reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child health and empower adolescent girls in rural and urban India.
Workshop
The Awards which total an amount of Rs 300,000 will be given to three Indian non-profit organisations that deliver programmes in the areas of health, education and life skills for adolescent girls. In a unique initiative, the Dasra Girl Power Awards will also provide capacity building support to 15 shortlisted organisations that will undergo an intensive two day workshop and network with potential funders.
Speaking about the Awards, Smarinita Shetty, Director, Dasra opined: “Our goal is to identify innovative models that have the potential to transform the lives of young girls in this country.  Our Awards have been designed to provide both financial as well as capacity building support because we think both components are equally critical to developing organisations that can have impact at scale”.
The Awards will call for applications from non-profit organisations across India with the aim to highlight organisations with innovative and impactful programmes while also encouraging established entities to focus actively on adolescent girls.
Evolution
Founded in 1999, Dasra has become India’s leading strategic philanthropy foundation.  Over the past 14 years, Dasra has strengthened the growth plans of more than 200 non-profits and social businesses, engaged with and educated over 500 philanthropists on strategic philanthropy, enabled over $ 38 million in funding to social entrepreneurs, and published 22 research reports in education, health and livelihoods.  For more information, visit dasra.org.

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