Girls Count is a national coalition of over 400 civil organizations across India. Girls Count members and the Secretariat are converging efforts to draw attention to issues of gender based discrimination, with particular focus on Declining Child Sex Ratio (DCSR). The Coalition aims to influence policy, amplify advocacy and establish accountability through dialogue, capacity development, support for community action, and evidence generation. The process of evolving the coalition began in early 2012 and the coalition was finally founded in year 2013.
The genesis of this Coalition lies in a dialogue process initiated by the National Foundation for India (NFI) in close collaboration with UNFPA and in partnership with a range of stakeholders in April 2012, to respond to the plunging DCSR.
As part of the dialogue, five regional consultations were organized in the country with over 200 representatives from various organizations participating. These sought to identify active networks, campaigns, organizations and include their standpoints and strategic positioning on the issue in the larger initiative. The outcomes were presented before a group of experts working on gender, women and girl child issues. Based on their inputs a clear road map on DCSR was collectively prepared in partnership with these country-wide civil society organizations.
These deliberations gradually culminated into this comprehensive nation-wide civil society initiative called Girls Count. In June 2013, civil society representatives from different parts of the country met in New Delhi to deliberate and launch this initiative.
One of the key mandates of Girls Count is strengthening and building coalitions and partnerships with a cross section of stakeholders. These include government departments, civil society groups, media medical, legal fraternity, educational institutions, among others.
Though at inception the primary focus for Girls Count was addressing the declining sex ratio; with significant number of partners coming on board, the Coalition today works on a broader spectrum of gender issues. From implementation of the PCPNDT Act, MTP Act to Women`s right to land, property and assets to encouraging Non-Traditional Skills Livelihood among women and girls.
One of the primary approaches for the Coalition has been to build consensus amongst stakeholders on issues pertaining to gender based discrimination. The strategies adopted to ensure this consensus building include consultations, workshops, media advocacy, evidence based policy advocacy, building of online forums, among others.
Over the years through these varied means the Coalition has brought together varied stakeholders on a common. Since its inception till date over 50 consultations, workshops, seminars reaching out to approximately 2100 participants have been organized by the Coalition, focusing on various dimensions of gender based discrimination.
Such an approach has helped build consensus and generate a more cohesive, collective response on issues of gender based discrimination from like-minded civil society organizations, media representatives, parliamentarians, doctors, academicians alike.