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Interventions 10-19 years

Adolescents (10-19 years) constitute about one fourth of India's population - a great 'demographic dividend' which offers a dependable potential to drive and sustain India's growth.

Still, almost 50% of girls in India marry before 18, with early marriage contributing to a series of negative consequences both for young girls and the societies in which they live. The timing of early marriage almost always disrupts girls' and boys education, reducing their opportunities for future financial development and independence through work and exposure. Young mothers are also are at greater risk of reproductive morbidity and mortality.

Adolescence is a unique intervention point in the life-cycle. It is a stage of receptivity to new ideas and a point at which lifestyle choices may determine an individual's life course. The interventions designed for 10-19 years are carried out in the 10K Club through a peer education approach- Adult - Adult Peer and Youth-Youth Peer for reaching out to young people and parents of young people. Peer educators from adolescent as well as parents groups act as change agents. At the same time, community mobilization efforts engage influential adults such as parents, teachers, community and religious leaders who can positively affect adolescent health and development.

Encouraging school retention, promoting life skills education, providing nutritional support, delay in age of marriage to legal age, facilitate entrepreneurship trainings are our key interventions.

Interventions

1.  School Retention

Education makes a general contribution to asset enhancement in any individual. Research suggests programs that provide or increase access to education for girls are crucial to delaying marriage. Girls with eight or more years of schooling have more chances of postponing marriage compared to girls with zero to three years of education. All levels of education must be made more accessible to girls so that more girls will be enrolled and retained. By not going to school, young brides are denied the opportunity to acquire critical life skills.

Under the 10K Club
  1. Parents and community leaders are sensitized to support continuation of education for girls.
  2. Community pressure groups are created to generate demand for up gradation of existing schools and establishment of secondary schools in the vicinity especially in rural India.

2.  Life skills and sexuality education

Adolescents lack skills to help them cope up with day to day curriculum of life like education, peer pressure, relationship with opposite sex, negotiation with peer and adults. Life Skills Education generates related relevant knowledge, awareness of risk, values and attitudes, self-efficacy, and intentions. It helps adolescents to make responsible and informed decisions, which will affect the rest of their lives. Imparting life skills to young people can encourage them to delay marriage and use health services1. Sexuality education programs grounded on evidence-based approaches are the corner stones in reducing adolescent sexual risk taking while promoting sexual health2. Comprehensive, rights-based life skills education sexuality information and education equips young people with the essential knowledge and skills they need to determine and enjoy their life and bodies – both physically and emotionally, individually as well as in relationships. Life skill education should enable young people to:

  • • Develop life skills, such as critical thinking and communication, negotiation, self-development and decision-making skills;
  • • Nurture positive attitudes and values, such as open-mindedness, respect for oneself and others, positive self-esteem, and a non-judgmental attitude; and
  • • Acquire accurate information on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) information.

Under the 10K Club:
  1. Peer educators have been identified in the community who reach out to vulnerable adolescents using various communication channels like video films, puppet shows and cartoons (in magazines, newspapers and on television), street shows. Such initiatives are also coupled with Information, Education, Communication support materials to generate discussion.
  2. Short courses life skills and sexuality education training are carried out with adolescents in the community,
  3. Developing protocolised module on life skills and sexuality education for adolescents with special emphasis on out of school children.

3.  Nutritional support

Adolescence offers a chance to acquire knowledge about optimal nutrition that could prevent or delay adult-onset diet-related illnesses later on. Actions to address the nutritional problems and needs of adolescents are therefore a priority. For many adolescents, inadequate quality and quantity of food are the prime causes of nutrition problems. The causes may be due to household food insecurity, intra-household allocation of food that does not meet their full range of dietary needs, livelihoods insecurity, and lack of nutrition knowledge. Adolescent boys and girls can be motivated to adopt nutrition behaviours that improve their looks, school achievement and athletic performance. Potentially, behaviour change messages for adolescents will contribute to more sustained health and nutrition impacts as they move to their adult years. Children born to short; thin women are more likely themselves to be stunted and underweight (low weight for age)3.

Under the 10K Club:
  1. Adolescent girls and boys are taught how to cook low cost nutritional recipes through community kitchens. These will be managed by outreach workers and community based groups/peer groups.
  2. Advocating with the school authorities for organising regular nutritional screening under the school health and nutrition program for adolescents.
  3. Adolescents during our monthly meetings and quaterly workshops will be told about the importance of physical fitness.
  4. Community awareness is generated through folk and local media (printed, video, radio, folk). Food advertising and nutrition education on Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) of commonly available foods and ill effects of 'junk foods' and non-nutritious fast foods are carried out. Adolescents who are hard-to reach, such as out-of- school adolescents, street children etc. are reached out through street shows and youth clubs and creating awareness on nutritional needs in adolescence.

4.  Facilitate entrepreneurship trainings

Livelihood comprises the capabilities and activities required for a means of living. The inclusion of enterprise and entrepreneurial training as a key element of the educational process and holds great potential for empowerment. It imparts practical knowledge which will allow the individual to earn a living. Expanding opportunities for girls and young women can help change social norms and prevent early marriage and early pregnancy.

Under the 10K club:
  1. School and out of school adolescent girls and boys are informed about vocational courses of various nature eg; computer courses, microfinance training, creative painting, driving etc.

5.  Promoting right age of marriage

Early marriage perpetuates an unrelenting cycle of gender inequality, sickness and poverty. The practice impinges on girls and boys ability to access information and develop skills to ensure a health transition to adulthood through adolescence. Young married girls are at greater risk of reproductive morbidity and mortality. Early pregnancy poses great health risks for young women and, if carried to term, for newborns as well. Girls aged 10 to 14 are five times more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth than women who are 20 to 24.4

It is important therefore to promote right age at marriage at community level with the active involvement of key stakeholders (adolescents, parents, PRIs members, religious and community leaders, service providers, etc).

Under the 10K Club:
  1. Sensitization meetings are organized to increase knowledge on social and physical consequences of early marriage and to enhance awareness on legal provisions of Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 among key stakeholders – parents, child marriage prohibition officers, PRIs, teachers, health service providers, frontline health functionaries etc.
  2. Adolescents’ Groups are formed and its members (both females and male; school and out of school) receive training on key issues like rights, gender, sexuality, life skills, advocacy, folk media.
  3. Through a peer education approach Adolescents’ Group members motivate other adolescents and parents to delay age at marriage and (when the marriage has already been celebrated) to delay gauna.
  4. Awareness campaigns are organized on occasions considered particularly auspicious for marriages, which see peak in early marriages. Traditional folk media and other innovative strategies are used to promote right age at marriage.


  1. Forming families, Ch 6, World development report.
  2. Wellings K, Collumbien M, Slaymaker E et al Sexual behaviour in context: a Global perspective Lancet 2006
  3. Gillespie S. Improving adolescent and maternal nutrition: An overview of benefits and ... WHO: http://www.who.int/child-adolescent-health/New_Publications
  4. Kaiser Family Foundation. Sex Education in America, Summary of Findings. Menlo Park: 2000
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