Almost 50% of India’s girls are married before they turn 18 and 20% are married before 15 years of age. If present trends continue, 28 million...
Adolescence is a critical phase of transition from childhood to adulthood. It is marked by rapid social and biological change as well as heightened vulnerability that considerably influences adolescents' sexual and reproductive health and rights. Dasra‘s report, Body of Knowledge, highlights the challenges that adolescents face, the efforts of key stakeholders, and the specific steps implementing organizations are taking on the ground to improve outcomes for adolescents.
The challenges of adolescence are compounded by the heterogeneity of adolescents as a group and the cultural differences across India. These challenges include a lack of knowledge or access to important reproductive and sexual health information, a lack of agency and decision-making power, restrictive gender norms, a prevalence of child marriage and adolescent pregnancy, restricted access to services and affordable contraception, and a prevalence of gender violence.
To enhance adolescents’ sexual and reproductive health, the report outlines a few key recommendations. First, to innovate outreach mechanisms to maximize the number of vulnerable adolescents reached, and to use technology to scale rapidly and reach where traditional channels fall short. Another important recommendation is to customize programs to address the heterogeneity of the adolescent population, and to collaborate wherever possible in order to tap into existing service delivery platforms. Finally adolescents’ feedback should be considered in program design and implementation to ensure the target audience is benefitting from the intervention.