Safety and Wellbeing of Adolescents and Youth (SWAY)
Project SWAY started in November 2020, with the objective of generating political will, new thought leadership, and a groundswell for the integration of age-appropriate comprehensive education on adolescent health and wellbeing in existing government mechanisms at the state level leading up to political buy-in at the national level. The project is being implemented in four states, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Manipur, and Delhi with strategic engagement at the national level.
WHY COMPREHENSIVE SEXUALITY EDUCATION?
Comprehensive education on adolescent health and wellbeing equips adolescents with knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values that will empower them to: realise their health, well-being, and dignity; develop respectful social and sexual relationships; consider how their choices affect their own well-being and what of others; and, understand and ensure the protection of their rights throughout their lives.
The Government of India (GoI) recognizes that adolescents are highly vulnerable and through the Rashtriya Kishore Swasthya Karykram (RKSK) program, provides information and health services to adolescents related to nutrition, sexual and reproductive health, mental health, injuries and violence, substance abuse, and communicable diseases. Through the more recently launched School Health Program (SHP), GoI is leveraging schools as a platform to establish healthy behaviour among children and adolescents and young people. Through this grant, we are engaging with the government for integrating crucial components of adolescent health and wellbeing in the SHP and integration of out-of-school models through the RKSK.
Policy level commitment for prioritizing adolescent health in the Uttar Pradesh (UP) State’s Population Policy 2021-30: Population Foundation of India’s engagement with the government of Uttar Pradesh (UP) has led to the prioritization of adolescent health and well-being in the new Population Policy for the state (2021-2030) released by the Honourable Chief Minister of UP on July 11, 2021. This underscores the political commitment and buy-in towards advancing programs, centric to adolescent health and wellbeing in the state. Population Foundation of India is the designated technical partner for developing a 10-year Adolescent Health Operational Plan for UP, as a next step towards the rollout of the policy.
Sharing findings from the Opinion Analysis on Comprehensive Sexuality Education – More than 150 stakeholders across the four states and from the national level have been interviewed to understand the varied opinion and understanding of Comprehensive Sexuality Education. The stakeholders represent varied sectors such as government, health service delivery (private and public), teaching and education, public policy, thematic experts, technical groups like FOGSI, community outreach, student and parents associations/groups, peer educators, Civil Society Organisations working on similar issues, grassroots stakeholders and adolescents. The findings from the study were disseminated to key stakeholders such as the government officials and CSO partners. The findings from the study have been critical for our messaging with the government officials in the different states.
Formation of a Technical Advisory Group on CSE: A Technical Advisory Group (TAG) has been constituted with a representation of varied domain experts to ensure the quality of program delivery, impactful messaging, appropriate and correct information, and effective approaches. The TAG’s role is to guide the team in its strategy and outreach plan, support the creation of unified messaging and provide expert inputs and suggestions for quality assurance of the research undertaken under the initiative. The first TAG meeting was organised virtually in January 2022.