The pandemic has not only impacted lives by affecting people’s health, but also unearthed certain systemic issues that have disproportionately affected the lower income populations. In India, young people have seen their dreams fall apart due to the adverse effects of the pandemic on their education, livelihoods, psychosocial health, and household finances at large.
Bharwani, a tribal village in Madhya Pradesh, hosts a total population of 303,026 youth. As a result of strong adherence to hilly terrain, cultural practices and social norms, mobility of youth, irrespective of gender, is restricted.
The average annual household income is 63% of the State average. Almost 82% of young people are educated up to class 12 or below and are mostly unskilled. They face a lot of challenges with finding the right upskilling opportunities, and pursuing employment in private sector and entrepreneurship.
Most of them are unable to secure jobs with a graduation degree, with about 1 in 25 youth certified in short term or long term training schemes, and 1 in 4 of the certified youth placed.
It becomes imperative to introduce last-mile solutions for youth in such geographies that helps them prioritize and plan for education; access relevant upskilling opportunities and vocational training for better livelihoods; instill saving and financial behaviors, by also accounting for health emergencies and other crises; and nurture health seeking behaviors.
To address this, Community Action Collab’s (previously #COVIDActionCollab) Economic Resilience Impact Canvas conducted an Action research survey among the youth of Barwani. The findings showed that the youth above all else lacked a sense of hope, which is a key element in building a resilient household.
To that effect in September 2022, Community Action Collab initiated the pilot of Hamara Sapna, a board game developed by Vihara, an innovation and implementation organization.
The Humara Sapna board game provides youth with ways to plan for, track and achieve their desired aspirations, all the while analysing their present situation. It allows for simulating life choices and their results, and means of bringing those learnings into their real lives. The board game, is layered with a life trajectory mapping exercise and a narrative. The life trajectory mapping exercise provides youth with a tangible artefact that they can utilize to map their aspirations in detail against a timeline based on their priorities and track their progress on a guide.
The intent of the game was to enable and encourage vision building, not necessarily behavioural changes. It gave the youth a space to visualize a life they could have. For the tribal youth of Bharwani, this was the first opportunity they had to visualize and look into their future. These youth live in a remote locations where the nearest bus stop is a five kilometer walk from their village, and a one hour bus ride to the nearest college. Some of the girls in the group haven’t studied beyond the 8th standard, and many of them were also married at a young age. The game ensured there was some semblance of reality, enabling the youth to identify and connect with it.
‘To learn more about the process adopted click here