Adolescents/Young People between 10-24 years of age form one third of the Indian population. Although they are important for the future, they are a vulnerable group with limited knowledge of sexual and reproductive health issues. The Adolescents' situation varies by age as they are young from 10-19 years, when sexual identities are formed and between 20-24 years when they retrieve their sexuality and begin reproductive life. Sex, marital status, class, region, cultural context are other variables and therefore interventions differ. Public health challenges for adolescents include pregnancy, excess risk of maternal and infant mortality, sexually transmitted infections, reproductive tract infections and HIV. Twenty per cent of the Branch Executive Committee and the Central Executive Committee are young people in equal participation for decision making.
Choices and Opportunities
A needs assessment study was conducted to assess realization of young people's sexual rights; the Associations' motivation and capacity and its current provision of SRH information and services. Focus group discussions and in-depth interviews were conducted among young people of different age groups (10-14 years, 15-19 years and 20-24 years), teachers, service providers in Mumbai, Bangalore and Bhopal to collect primary data on young people's needs and situation. This provided relevant data for developing a project "Expand access to Comprehensive Sexuality Education and Youth Friendly Services among young people" at Agra, Ahmedabad and Bangalore for effective interventions that directly respond to the gaps and barriers.
Strengthening Youth Friendly Services
A two year project funded by Strategic Alliance with International NGOs (SALIN) by Dutch Government was completed in March. This project was implemented at Agra, Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Lucknow, Jabalpur and Gomia. A review of the project achievements indicated knowledge gain among young people, attitude change and increase in availing SRH services provided through Youth Centres. The demand for services increased and neighbouring areas requested for such centres in their localities. There remaining a huge unmet need for SRH services especially, in rural areas.
|A needs assessment study was conducted to assess realization of young people's sexual rights; the Associations' motivation and capacity and its current provision of SRH information and services. Focus group discussions and in-depth interviews were conducted among young people of different age groups
Addressing Adolescent Fertility at Barwani
Funded by UNFPA, 'Addressing Adolescent Fertility Project' was implemented at Barwani district covering seven blocks in Madhya Pradesh for a period of two years. The primary objective of the project is to increase the mean age at first conception among married women between 15-19 years and to promote spacing, care seeking behavior for sexual and reproductive health among them. The intervention is through the existing system of ASHA workers. An analysis of service statistic by Government of India indicated that within a short period of time contraceptive acceptance among this group increased in Barwani than in other districts of Madhya Pradesh.
Strengthening Counseling Cells
Counseling cells in government/municipal schools were strengthened by ten branches to increase access to SRH services and sexuality education. A mega health camp was organized by Mysore Branch for young girls. An orientation meeting was held by Nagaland Branch. The North Kanara Branch organized meetings with partner organization to develop referral linkages to increase SRH services accessed for young people. The Panchkula Branch conducted summer camps for adolescent girls. The Dindigul Branch organized a sensitization meeting for parents, teachers and community based organization on Sexual and Reproductive Health. The Madurai Branch organized a sensitization meeting for parents in collaboration with Integrated Child Development Programme on Gender and Gender Equality and consequences of early marriages. The Ahmadabad Branch organised a seminar on "Sex Education - Boon or Boomerang" for a large number of participants. The Dharwad Branch was recognized as a resource organization for conducting training programmes by GFATM project implemented by Karnataka University, Dharwad.
As a part of an empowerment process, skills development courses were organized based on the local need. Skills included tailoring/embroidery, computers, painting/handicrafts, beauty culture, music/dance and so on for over 2000 young people.
Peer Leaders Training
The Mumbai Branch along with SNEHA, a NGO working in the field of health, organised a four- day training programme for 18 Peer Leaders from Dharavi, the largest slum of Asia for propogating SRH message in 1000 households and refer clients to the FPA India clinics.