News and Event

Case Studies from the CMPI Program



Sangita Toppo

Tragedies of her life become lessons for others (Birda village, Birkara Panchayat, Lathikata Block, Sundergarh, Odisha)

No one can explain the ill effects of a social evil than one who has faced its consequences. Usually such victims of rotten social customs tend to hide themselves from public scrutinising, and this goes to show how much heart one needs to present one’s own example to sensitise others. Sangita Toppo, a 19-year old girl coming from a poor economic status and family background from Birda village of Lathikata Block, Sundergarh district, Odisha, is one such example. Her father Mathias Toppo works as a truck driver and spend most of his earnings on alcohol, with little to spare for the family expenses. Her mother, Malti Toppo, is a cook for other households and sells logs to make ends meet for the family. With her small earnings out these vocations, she somehow manages to take care of her children, but that fell short in their proper upbringing. Sangita dropped out of school in Std. III because of negligent attitude of her parents towards her education. After some years in 2009, she went Delhi to work and there she got married at the age of 15 years to a teenager through love affair. Sometime later she became the mother of two baby girls. After two years her husband passed away and Sangita, mother of two baby girls, was plunged into a sea of tragedy. Suffering the loss of her husband’s death she was left without any helping hand. At that time she had absolutely no knowledge about child care, how to earn a livelihood and to sustain a family. She returned to her native place and came to know about the CMPI initiative to check the social evil she has suffered from. To prevent others from repeating the mistakes she made, Sangita joined the project as a Yuva Mitra. Since then, she has pledged to put an end to early marriage and educate the community, particularly teenagers, how crucial education is for girls and how a rash decision can turn one’s life around towards the wrong direction.

Rita Mahanand

A sister comes to rescue her underage brother (Ranjitpur village in Paikmal Block under Bargarh district, Odisha)

It is not common for the youngest female member of the family to be heard in matters of significance like marriage in rural communities of this country. But when such an instance comes to pass, it becomes an example of how even the ones considered to be the least influential can uproot rampant social evils by sheer determination. Such is the story of Rita Mahanand, a young girl from the Ranjitpur village in Paikmal Block under Bargarh district, Odisha. After her village was brought under the aegis of Child Marriage Program, India, Rita become a member of the Jagruti Kishori Sangh, the adolescent group formed in her village under the project. After receiving the Part-I training of a Yuva Mitra in December, 2014 at AJKA headquarters in Paikmal, she began counselling the inhabitants of her village against the issue of child marriage with other Yuva Mitras and members of the adolescent groups. It was during this period that her brother Sudhir Mahanand, who was 19 years old then, was to be married. Rita took it upon her to stop this marriage at talked to her brother about it. Successful in convincing her brother to call off the wedding, Rita confidently proceeded to talk to her parents. After listening to her arguments against marrying off Sudhir right then, Rita’s parents changed their minds and decided to go on with the wedding after their son completes the age of 21 years. A proud Yuva Mitra of Ranjitpur village, Rita has been a source of motivation for others since then.

Newspaper Coverage for DF State Dissemination Workshop

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Child Marriage Program – Stakeholder Experience Sharing Workshop

The dissemination process would characterises the achievement of outcomes and impacts the program has made .The emphasises is to show case the changes in behaviours, relationships, actions and/or activities of the people and organisations with which Child Marriage Program works directly. The contributions of the program, the influence on the stakeholders with whom it is working to effect change. These changes are referred to as outcomes and impacts. As a result, it can be more effective in terms to showcase the results it achieved and disseminating to the relevant stakeholders. The stakeholders would range from concerned Government departments, key policy makers, political leaders, independent experts in the concerned area, media and benefited stakeholders et al.

The proposed design for the state dissemination workshop is as follows:

  1. Welcome and Inauguration
  2. Key note address by Political leadership of the day or a senior Bureaucrat / principle secretary
  3. Brief sharing about the program - PPT/Video sharing by a cross section of stakeholders such as youth (girls and boys)/ Yuva Mitra, PRI members/ Parents/ Case studies/ Secretary.
  4. Release the publication on documentation on experiences of child marriage program.
  5. Panel discussion that would end with recommendations. Panellist should ideally be cross section of Govt, Independent Agency, CSO people moderated by Dev. Journalist.
  6. Interview of yuva mitra/ change agents/ community representatives’ by the media.


Stakeholders experience sharing workshop to be held in Ranchi and Bhubaneshwar by Development Focus and its 10 Partner Organizations.


Dates: Jharkhand – 27th August 2015, Odisha – 31st August 2015

DF and State Forum Jt. Planning Workshops

Development Focus and State Forum Joint Planning workshops

Development Focus and State Forums of Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Jharkhand have planned to conduct Joint Planning workshops. This is a follow up of the deliberations and decision of the Inter State Forum meeting held in Aug 2014 at Vizag.

The workshop will deliberate on:

  • Experiences from the the just concluded Basic Education Program - how best to strenghten the community hands to: sustain the gains made and for them to work with the Education Dept and the Gram Panchayats for the purpose.
  • Targeted Advocacy and Lobbying in ongoing collaborative programs with Development Focus
  • Emerging collaborative opportunities from CSR initiatives of the private and public sector commpanies and their demands/expectations on the Cluster POs and State Forums- how best to equip, be prepared  and respond
  • Emergence of new development initiatives in 'Skilling'; 'Clean & Renewable Energy'; 'Social & Micro Entreprenuership' - competencies and strategy for preparedness

The workshops will be held at:

  1. Raipur ( with Chhattisgarh Forum): 4th - 5th Fenruary 2015
  2. Sambalpur (with Orissa Forum):  6th -7th February, 2015
  3. Ranchi (with Jharkhand Forum):  9th - 10th February, 2015

Unity against Child Marriage (UaCM) program launched

Unity Against Child Marriage (UaCM) Program is a program initiative by a Consortium of NGOs in Orissa, Jharkhand and Bihar and their supporting partners - Simavi, Edukans & dance 4 Life, in the states of Orissa, Jharkhand and Bihar.

Edukans counterpart in India, Development Focus and their 20 partner organizations (in 3 State Clusters) have initaited the UaCM program in Orissa and Jharkhand.  The program endeavors to work towards eradication/mitigation of Child/Early Marriage in these east Indian states.  The key objectives of the meet were to understand Child Marriage scenario in the targeted States of Odisha & Jharkhand, work with the communities in sensitizing and enabling them to address the issue and challenges in their households/communities; and share the expereinces with stakeholders to facilitate larger adpatation/replciation in the respective states.India is to objectively & subjectively address the issue at the community levels. 

CEOs of the particpating organziations and the Development Focus team met for two days on 16th & 17th October’ 2014, at Bhubaneshwar, for a Orientation on the subject by an expert on Chidl Marriage and SRHR Issues. This was followed by a particpatory development of Action Plan.

Some of the takeaways for the Heads of Partner Organizations were:

  • to passionately understand the plight of those children who are affected by forcefully being pushed into marriage at an early age of their adolescence (the apathy is very worse in the cases involving girl children & adolescents).
  • Evolve newer & innovative way of tactically addressing issue of Child Marriage at the community & village levels, as one of the core reasons for early marriage is bound to religion, tradition, culture & customs.

Development Focus is generating networking initiatives with other likeminded Organizations towards working in collectives for addressing Child Marriage problem in India.

More info about the Child Marriage Program @