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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2014 India: Evaluation of Empowering Young Girls and Women in Maharashtra, India

Author: Sambodhi Research & Communications Pvt. Ltd

Executive summary

With the aim to continuously improve transparency and use of evaluation, UNICEF Evaluation Office manages the "Global Evaluation Reports Oversight System". Within this system, an external independent company reviews and rates all evaluation reports. Please ensure that you check the quality of this evaluation report, whether it is “Outstanding, Best practice”, “Highly Satisfactory”, “Mostly Satisfactory” or “Unsatisfactory” before using it. You will find the link to the quality rating below, labelled as ‘Part 3’ of the report.


The project 'Adolescent Girls’ Life Skills Education Project' named ‘Deepshikha' is aimed at empowering adolescent girls in the age group of 12-18 years to come together to protect their rights and build their futures while actively participating in the development of their communities. The project focuses on reaching out to out of school adolescent girls mostly from the vulnerable and deprived sections of society and bring them into the mainstream.

The overall goal of the project is as follows:

1) To successfully develop low-cost and replicable strategies that succeed in empowering adolescent and young girls and through them address the issue of gender in development that leads to ensuring an equitable and sustainable development environment and accelerates progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

2) The empowerment exercise is sought to be achieved through an iterative process of equipping the adolescent girls with the necessary life skills, knowledge and attitudes. The project also recognizes the importance of peer groups in the process of empowerment and rights recognition thereby rightly focusing on forming adolescent groups and encouraging them to take up income generating activities.

The project was initiated in November 2008. The project has been implemented in 2 phases: Phase 1 spanned from August 2008 to November 2011 and Phase 2 spans from September 2012 to December 2015. Phase 1 ended in November 2011 lasting a total period of 3 years and three months. Phase 1 was implemented in seven blocks of Chandrapur district, six blocks of Latur district, and two blocks of Nandurbar district, and three wards of Mumbai. Currently, the project is running in its second phase focusing on developing entrepreneurial and financial skills of the adolescent girls and linking them with potential livelihood opportunities. The project has reached 70,000 adolescent girls, formed 2850 Adolescent Girls Groups.


The overall objective of the evaluation exercise was to assess empowerment of the adolescent girls in the age group of 12-18 years after the programme implemented in Phase 1.

In specific, following are the evalutions questions answered:

1) To what extent are “Building Brighter Future” programme (BBF) are aligned towards fulfilling the goal of “empowering adolescents with the correct knowledge to adopt positive practices, access preventive, curative and protective services, and enhance their skills and participation in local governance and decision-making?”

2) To what extent were the outcomes of imparting life skills, correct knowledge and attitude, group formation and state gender resource centre relevant to the problems identified at the beginning of the BBF programme?

3) To what extent has the programme outcomes been aligned with the state and national policies related to adolescent?

4) To what extent are they aligned with the outcomes of government programmes such as initiatives by Human Development Commissionarate, SABLA, Gender initiatives for KGBV?
5) To what extent has the programme achieved outcomes and goal?

6) What are the findings in terms of outputs, outcomes and impact of the programme?

7) Were the resources (funds, expertise, and time) allocated appropriate to support the strategies and activities?

8) To what extent are the adolescent girls following the practices taught to them during the training sessions; the government has integrated the innovations in its own system?

9) How has the State Office used the project for advocacy and influencing government programmes and policies?

10) Are the partnerships developed within the project (government, NGOs, panchayat,CBOs etc) able to take forward and sustain the programme?


Evaluation Design: The study used pre-post design with a project and comparison group to compare the changes in impact and outcome indicators with respect to the baseline. A mixed research design was most conducive to the situation, with the quantitative component yielding information on knowledge, attitude, behavior and practice related indicators, while the information on institutionalization of processes and pathways to change were addressed by the qualitative arms of the research investigation. The information generated from the qualitative component was used to validate the findings generated from the quantitative assessment and to explain the results generated from quantitative data in more detail.

The sampling Design and methodology proposed is in line with the evaluation design. The sample size required to assess change was computed based on following attribute and also to keep in sync with the baseline:

• The expected present value of key indicator i.e. proportion of adolescent girls “EMPOWERED” in Maharashtra (50%);
• Magnitude of change desired (10%)
• Appropriate significance level i.e. assigning probability to conclude that an observed change is a reflection of impact that has come in through the support generated from the program i.e. at 95% level
• Appropriate power i.e. the probability to conclude study has been able to detect a specified change i.e. at 80% power.
• An assumed design effect for the study based on the fact that it is a stratified multi-stage sampling design

The total sample for the endline covered 583 girls in project and 324 in comparison areas.

In line with the evaluation objective and evaluation design, study used a mix of quantitative and qualitative research tools to comprehensively understand the why and how of survey results.

Findings and Conclusions:

i. While 80 percent of the respondents had attended Module 1 training, the number of prerikas attending the training in Module 2 had increased to 85.5 percent. However, the percentage of prerikas attending the module III decreased to 67.3 percent.

ii. Out of 583 girls, 51 percent of the girls continued to be a member even now and rest of them (49 percent) discontinued in the past.  The sessions mentioned by them were puberty and menstruation and reproductive health which made them slightly uncomfortable.

iii. The Deepshikha programme has been extremely relevant in the development landscape. The project has been implemented through a strong partnership with government agencies, civil society organizations and communities and has had a very positive impact on the state. 

iv. The impact created by the project is strongly evident within communities – many child marriages have been prevented, school dropout girls have joined back to schools, a number of young women have got elected into local self-governance bodies, some are even heading their gram panchayats, they are now active at village level and an active part family level decision making process and changes within families are quite evident, especially in regard to the attitudes towards girls.

v. The project has been successful in increasing the level of awareness of girls on various topics like puberty, menstruation, malnutrition, etc. and also change in level of empowerment of girls on soft skills like mobility, decision-making, self-efficacy.

vi. The budget utilization was slow in the initial years (52 percent in 2009) but it improved in the later period (99 percent in 2010 and 100 percent in 2011).

vii. The Government of Maharashtra has also adopted project design for replication in 125 most backward community development blocks in 25 districts through the Maharashtra Human Development Commissionerate reaching to more than three hundred thousand girls.


i. Theory of Change : Develop a theory of change for the programme along with a logframe at the start the programme. This can act as a guidance document for the programme team and the evaluation team.

ii. Evaluation of the programme : Ensure that a robust evaluation design has been built in it as it will be beneficial in future.

iii. Provision of incentives for Prerikas: Equip the adolescent girls with a sense of responsibility towards themselves and make them independent for their future. Due to family pressure on the girls regarding working and not being paid.

iv. Inclusion of adolescent boys: About 95 percent of the Prerikas and 96 percent of the parents of adolescent girls suggested to include adolescent boys. About 91 percent of the girls believed that the adolescent training sessions could be held for the boys as well.

v. Identification of space for the sessions: Space continues to be a challenge, especially in the urban implementation of the initiative. Therefore, dedicated space for the sessions are key to the project.

vi. Selection of facilitators: Since, the facilitator has to coordinate with the girls in the area on daily basis, it is essential that they are selected based on consensus. Also select married facilitators who will not leave the area in the near future. This is critical for the sustainability of the groups.

vii. Identification of multiple facilitators: Since, not all the facilitators are confident to lead the groups, it is essential that some level of field support is provided by the NGOs. 

viii. Regular meetings with parents : The health department specialists and parents should be brought together and invite to attend a collective session to gain their consent.

ix.  New topics to include in the training calender:
     • Courses pertaining to specific business or skills
     • Human trafficking
     • Rights and laws for girls and women including domestic violence act

Find below:

"Report" - Evaluation Report
"Part 2" - Annexes
"Part 3" - GEROS

Full report in PDF

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Report information




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