SHASHKT Project

One-fifth of the world’s adolescents reside in India. India has estimated 25, 31, 60,473 approximating at 20.9% of the population (Census 2011). Bihar, to be specifically mentioned has 2, 33, 93,000 adolescents between 10-19 years (Census 2011). Because the project is focusing upon Mahadalits, let us have a look at the statistics below:

Schedule Caste Adolescent Population

 

SC Adolescent population %SC to total adolescent population
India 4,43,59,691 17.5
Bihar 36,17,059 15.5

These statistics are very critical to the development of any nation. These adolescents will compose the demographics tomorrow. They are the opportunity through which nations yields entrepreneurs, businessmen, scientists etc. It is very essential component of planning that any nation must not overlook. India came out with National Youth Policy 2003 and 2013 but the specific requirements for the adolescents were found found cluttered among the plethora of priorities. Rashtriya Kishore Swasthya Karyakarm launched in 2014 remains largely ignored at the ground.

In this scenario, there was a felt need for special health services to the adolescents, especially for Mahadalits for whom the health services are largely inaccessible. The word “Shashakt” means empowerment. The project is focus upon the adolescents aged between 15 to 19 years of age. It aims to empower these adolescents with information on sexual and reproductive health and life skills.

How do we work?

Peer Educators led Supplementary learning session.

Adolescence is marked by intense physiological and psychological change. And in our society is not receptive to open discussions on sexual and reproductive health issues. Sexuality issues are often an elephant in the room. Most of the cases the problems emerging are brushed under the carpet. We have adopted the rights approach where we recognise the sexual and reproductive rights of the adolescents.

Reach has  adopted Peer Educator led supplementary learning session. We select an adolescent, based on certain criteria, and train them on a package of modules. The peer educator in turn mobilises, organise, discuss and disseminate the information to other adolescents of the hamlet through a monthly meeting. The meeting is facilitated by the Block Project Coordinators. The boys and girls have separate groups for facilitating discussions peculiar to their biology. So far Reach India has 316 peer educators across 3 districts covering 6 blocks distributed over 59 Panchayats.

  1. Community Meeting

We also organise periodic meeting with community – Parents, Guardians, and Gatekeepers etc. with the help of ASHA. Our focus is to establish channels of communication with the decision makers.

  1. ASHA Home Visits

The project also works with the Mahadalit married adolescents. The women must be below 19 years of age is the eligibility for reaching out to this young adolescents. The visits are conducted by ASHAs facilitated by BPCs.