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Provide Maternal Health Support to pregnant and lactating married adolescent girls in Karnataka


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In South Karnataka, Divya* was married at the tender age of 14 like many girls in her village. By 17, she was a mother of two. “I had children early because that’s what we do,” she said. 

In a village in North Karnataka, thirteen-year-old Saira* was married to a driver and faced family pressure to have children and look after the house. She shared "I felt weak and tired. I was scolded for my inability to do household chores"

Unfortunately, these stories are not uncommon. Each year, nearly 1.5 million girls in India get married before the age of 18, 23% of which are in Karnataka. (Source: Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights)

Once married, these girls face immense amounts of pressure to have children, which poses a significant threat to their health. In India, the risk of maternal death for early married girls (EMGs) is double that of older females. This risk also transfers to the child, who is 50% more likely to be born stillborn or die within the first weeks of life than a baby born to an older mother. (Source: Girls Not Brides) These risks are heightened due to pre-existing issues like anaemia, which is common among young girls in villages.

*Names have been changed to protect identities.

Despite the large number of Early Married Adolescent Girls (EMGs) in Karnataka and India, and the serious health risks related to their pregnancies, few organisations work to support these girls after marriage. In the last two years, Children of India Foundation (CIF) worked with over 120 community based organizations across Karnataka to reach 3,077 vulnerable EMGs through the project “Initiatives for Married Adolescent Girls’ Empowerment (IMAGE),” which provided support for them in multiple areas from sexual health and gender-based violence to skill-based training and education.

CIF plans to use these established networks to address the maternal health crisis among EMGs in districts of Bidar, Belagavi and Bagakot in Karnataka by;

1. Providing nutritional supplements to 510 married adolescent pregnant and lactating girls

2. Conducting awareness sessions to 191 pregnant adolescent girls on nutritional food, adverse effect of anemia and safe delivery process with communication materials, videos, audios.

3. Conducting awareness sessions to 319 lactating adolescent mothers on importance of breastfeeding, growth chart of baby and healthy & nutritional food requirement for the mother and the baby.

Following will be the impact of the project

1. Improved reproductive health status of 510 pregnant and lactating married adolescent girls

2. Improved HB level and reduction of anemia of 510 pregnant and lactating married adolescent girls

3. Ensured safe delivery with healthy baby of 191 pregnant married adolescent girls

4. Improved health condition of 319 lactating mother and the baby

5. Ensured breast feeding to 319 baby and improved healthy condition of the baby

With your support, Children of India Foundation can provide 510 adolescent mothers the nutrition and awareness they need for safe pregnancies and deliveries. Providing supplements will increase their haemoglobin levels and cure their anaemic condition, reducing the risk of health problems to them and their child. Awareness sessions on maternal health will provide a safe space for adolescent mothers to learn and address their queries on the daunting challenges of pregnancy and motherhood. As a result, they will be equipped them to improve their health status.



Beneficiary Charity

Mahima Sashank

Mahima Sashank


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