Adolescence (10–19 Years) is an important stage of life for growth and development. It is a period of transition from childhood to adulthood and is marked by rapid physical, physiological and psychological changes. Although adolescence is a healthy stage of life, many adolescents are not informed about or prepared for the changes that they undergo while growing up. In fact, they face a range of restrictions that stem from traditional social structure and taboos imposed by societal norms and culture, especially on girls.
Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), a voluntary organization of working women has been engaged in life-skill building and health training programs for poor women and their adolescent unmarried daughters for several years. The health training for adolescents is designed to help their transition to adulthood a safe endeavor, by providing positive information about reproductive and sexual health. The article examines the impact of Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) to impart knowledge about sexual and reproductive health to adolescent girls.
The paper examines the impact of the initiative taken by a non-government organization—Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA)—in Ahmedabad, a city in western India to impart knowledge about sexual and reproductive health to adolescent girls. Quasi-experimental design was used for data collection from beneficiary and non-beneficiary households in two rural blocks and two cities of Gujarat. Non-beneficiary households from control areas were selected with similar socio-economic characteristics. The study noted that the girls from control areas were not much different with respect to awareness about reproductive and sexual health compared to those who were exposed to training imparted by SEWA. While the girls who participated in health training received information on menstrual hygiene, their household situation was not always conducive to allow them to practice what was taught. Girls were keen to learn about what is safe sex or how to deal if confronted with difficult boy–girl interaction. The need to include discussion on such issues with young girls is evident and timely. Any intervention to improve the conditions of adolescent girls cannot be limited to providing information about hygiene or giving additional nutritional supplement (as is done in the government centers), but it is important to create a space for them to express their concerns. Also, there is a need for interaction with parents to make them sensitive towards health of their young girls and help them pursue their goals.
Health Training Program for Adolescent Girls: Some Lessons from India’s NGO Initiative
Leela Visaria, Rudra N. Mishra,
Journal of Health Management