The skewed gender dynamics of the populace have ramifications on all aspects of a country’s growth and development. With India being one of the poor performers on all major gender-related indices, concerted efforts to dismantle gender stereotypes, redress systemic inequalities, invest in capacity building of marginalised genders, and foster an environment for their sustained growth, become indispensable.
Population Foundation of India, through its research, advocacy, and capacity-building initiatives on the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents and adults, aims to contribute to the global women’s health movement and gender empowerment. In the past few years, we have consciously pivoted towards and advocated for a choice and rights-based approach in the domain of family planning, facilitating access to gender-sensitive information on SRH to adolescents and youth, and debunking myths surrounding gender.
- Population Foundation of India’s engagement with the government of Uttar Pradesh led to the prioritization of adolescent health and well-being in the new Population Policy for the state (2021-2030). One of the stated objectives of the policy is to address the challenges of adolescents around early marriages, decision-making, gender norms, myths and misconceptions about SRH by introducing an age-appropriate curriculum under the School Health Programme (SHP), for two age groups–10-14 years and 15-19 years.
- In collaboration with State Health Society Bihar (SHSB) and Bihar State AIDS Control Society (BSACS), we have conceptualised SEHAT Kendras, a youth-friendly space, which provides accurate information on gender, sexual and reproductive health, mental health, and nutrition to students across 30 colleges in Bihar.
- Under the Feminist and Adolescent Youth-led Action (FAYA) program, Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) was imparted to 10,000 adolescents directly through sessions led by trained youth facilitators, and indirectly to 20,000 adolescents through identified peer educators.
- Youth Resource Centres, also called Super Saathi Kendras (SSKs), have been established in Rajasthan’s Dungarpur and Tonk.