This study examines the impact of a community-based multi-media intervention that aims to improve sexual and reproductive health awareness among youth.
Nearly one-fifth of India’s population is under the age of 25 and one-third is under the age of 18. Meeting the sexual and reproductive health needs of these young people is crucial to India’s progress, however many constraints limit India’s young people from meeting their full potential. India’s young people from meeting their full potential. Barriers faced by young people include: lack of sexuality education, social and family norms, stigma, and lack of contraceptive care and access. As a result, contraceptive prevalence is low among Indian adolescents with less than 20% of women married or in union ages 15-19 using a contraceptive method (most commonly a traditional method), followed by condoms, and sterilization. A growing body of literature has evaluated and emphasized the role of parent-child communication on Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) topics to successfully meet the SRH needs of young people. However, in India, SRH conversations among parents and children are not common. Most parents report feeling shy or uncomfortable with discussing SRH topics with their children. This study examines the impact of a series of SRH communication interventions on the knowledge and attitudes of young adults.
A formative study was conducted in phase 1 to understand the SRH awareness, attitudes, and needs of youth. Based on insights from the study, the Kissa Kahani intervention for girls and boys aged 12 to 16 addressing the ecology of factors influencing young people’s reproductive health and wellbeing. Kissa Kahani is a theory-based, multimedia intervention designed to promote reproductive health and family planning, and emphasize the value of education and financial autonomy for girls in India. Originally, the intervention was to be implemented and tested in government schools in India. Due to the COVID-19 situation, government schools have been closed. As an alternative to the school-based study, the study will be conducted in a community setting with help from local partners in India.
The community-based testing of the Kissa Kahani intervention will include three distinct pilot studies on the intervention topics—(1) menstruation, (2) family planning, and (3) street harassment– using a shorter modified curriculum that excludes activities that require close contact (e.g., board games) with multiple components, and; a fourth pilot study with only the graphic novels. 1,200 participants, girls and boys, aged 12 to 16, living in and around semi-urban districts of Sitapur and Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India will participate in four study arms that will be conducted in the community setting. Participants will be selected using purposive sampling to ensure balanced gender distribution of approximately 30% male and 70% female. A pre-and-post survey will be administered at the beginning and the end of each study session.
A scoping study is also being conducted with parents, to assess current practices, needs, and capacity, of parents for SRH communication with their children.
Findings from the evaluation will provide valuable insights on developing interventions that create safe spaces to educate and empower young people Specifically, the interventions will inform curriculum and program design to create awareness among youth and adults about issues of gender, family planning, reproductive health, and menstrual hygiene as key to girls becoming educated and fully participating in society.