It gives me great pleasure to welcome Ms. Priyanka Singh Rawat, Member of Parliament, Barabanki (BJP),Mr. Narendra Agarwal, Chief Medical Officer of Lucknow, Ms Savita Chauhan, DGM (EC), distinguished guests, friends and well-wishers for the launch of Mobius Foundation’s Aakar Project. It is milestone moment for Mobius Foundation and for me personally, that you have joined us to support this important national cause.
We are indeed proud to join hands with the Government of India and support its commitment to population stabilization. Aakar Project has been specifically designed to complement the government’s efforts to build awareness around reproductive health, catalyse improvements in reproductive behaviour, impacting family size resulting in effective community action.
But let me also speak about Mobius Foundation which I have the honour to have founded. We are a non-profit organisation committed to support sustainability, strengthening systems with empowering technology with a focus on education, environment and population stabilization. We collaborate with a diverse range of public and civil partners to advance these causes.
For Aakar Project, we have taken special care to align it with the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Family Planning and policies of the state government. The project is focussed on building awareness and influencing attitudes towards contraceptive measures among couples in the reproductive age. It is well known that the biggest challenge to overcome is limited access to reliable information in the target groups and the many social taboos and myths surrounding the issue.
We have selected Uttar Pradesh as our pilot territory. It has 57 districts (more than any other state in India). It has a population exceeding 204 million, and has a total fertility rate of over 2.1. At least 11 districts have a rate of 3.9, according to data released by the Ministry of Health.
The project is being piloted in two districts of Barabanki and Behraich covering a total of 207 villages and towns. We have adopted a 360-degree approach to roll out Aakar. This approach uses a communication mix of traditional connect and modern technology to initiate conversations with the target communities. The technology element is particularly vital as a means to build a long-term connect and share vital information related to public health and family planning services through mobile phones.
This can well be a powerful means of sharing information in privacy with couples at their preferred day and time. They too can dial the number to access information on right reproductive choices and contraceptives. We have partnered with a well-known NGO KartavyaShilaMahilaAevamBalVikasSansthav to implement the project. The NGO works in the domain of women and child development with a presence in more than 20 districts of Uttar Pradesh.
Subsequently, we plan to extend Aakar to five more districts in the state with the highest birth rates. The objective will remain the same – to increase uptake of contraceptives and influence the choices for small family.
Through the Aakar Project, Mobius Foundation will engage with more than 20 million people across the state, and strengthen the government’s efforts to encourage couples and community to adopt healthy family planning measures.
I thank you for being with us at the launch of Aakar Project and seek your support for this important national cause.