UNFPAState of World Population 2003
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HOME: STATE OF WORLD POPULATION 2003: Comprehensive Programmes for Adolescents
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Overview of Adolescent Life
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Comprehensive Programmes for Adolescents

Adolescent Girls Project
African Youth Alliance
Adolescent Reproductive Health Initiative
Geração Biz, Mozambique
Kidavri Network for Adolescent Skills
Coordination Concerns

Kidavri Network for Adolescent Skills

In India, seven diverse NGOs serving adolescents have formed a network of mutual support. With support from community contributions, international NGOs and foundations, bilateral aid agencies and United Nations programmes including UNFPA, the network produces a newsletter, holds periodic strategy meetings and facilitates the exchange of knowledge and skills. Members of the Kidavri network are a mix of religious, social action, social research and humanitarian organizations, including Don Bosco Ashalayam (rehabilitating street children), the Bahai’i community (promoting communal harmony, self-empowerment and personality development), Swaasthya (serving a large resettlement colony), the Society for Promotion of Youth and Masses (implementing programmes for the underprivileged and marginalized, particularly adolescents), Prerana (providing skills training and social empowerment) and Action India (promoting women’s empowerment and community development). Network members share experiences, work on common issues (e.g., evaluation, outreach and information) and promote youth participation in decision-making.

Swaasthya is succeeding in integrating rigorous social science research with participatory community action. Research has included baseline surveys of community conditions and knowledge, and qualitative research (interviews and focus groups). Community members assist in getting information about health to neighbours. Shopkeepers distribute subsidized condoms to people who request them. Young people have made entertaining and informative films that have aired on local cable television.

Part of an international network of shelters, Don Bosco Ashalayam provides refuge and comfort to former street children who have been abandoned or driven from their homes. Boys and girls are housed separately. They are taught reading, arithmetic and crafts and take responsibility for cooking, laundry, cleaning and building maintenance. The regular routine provides structure to lives disrupted by the chaos of the streets. Older youths continue schooling outside. There is also a telephone help line providing street youths with information, counselling and referrals to other services.

25 TRAINING TRAINERS TO BUILD GIRLS’ CONFIDENCE

In a refresher workshop, 23 young women between ages 15 and 22 draw and label the parts of the female reproductive system and discuss ways to use the activity for further learning. They are leaders in Prerana, a network of New Delhi youth groups, sharing experiences in training others. Each works with ten or more younger women, mostly recent migrants from the countryside, providing information about health and livelihoods and helping build their confidence to ask questions, gain information and navigate their way in the world.

Today they are working on participatory exercises; strengthening their knowledge and skills in reading, nutrition and health; and role-playing to learn to be more assertive.

From a small start and with support from CEDPA and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Prerana has expanded rapidly, broadening its mission and serving as a resource to similar efforts elsewhere in the state and the country. Over the seven years of the project, several hundred young women have participated. Many have participated in meetings held by local governments and have been sought out by national planners.

The young women’s confidence and mastery of their subjects is obvious in their interactions with their families and communities. One trainer’s proud mother is almost envious of her daughter’s skills; she has never known such opportunity. Previously reluctant to let her daughter leave the house without a brother escorting her, she is now confident that the young woman can take care of herself as she moves freely around the community, works with neighbours and travels to more distant meetings.

The programme’s success with adolescent girls led people to demand a similar effort for boys, now under way for three years. See Sources

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