Activities of the Alliance 2004-2014
State level consultations
During the year 2004 over 10,000 young people across 13 states of India, participated in state level consultations. This provided an enabling platform for interactive discussion between various stakeholders from different socio-economic backgrounds. Ample scope and opportunities were provided to young people to express, analyze and articulate their views on various issues which included livelihood and careers, reproductive and sexual health, education and violence.
National level consultation
The Alliance, in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India (GOI) organized a National level Consultation between May 21-23, 2004 in New Delhi. The objective was to provide an opportunity for interactive discussions on health and development issues of young people to voice their concerns, hopes and aspirations. Around 500 persons from 20 states actively participated at the consultation. The majority of participants were young people.
National and state level consultations provided an enabling platform to share the current situation and the needs of young people. Various programmes and policies were reviewed and critical suggestions on youth related programmes and policies were forwarded.
Dialogue with different ministries and networks for formulating state youth policy in the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Bihar and Jharkhand were the outcomes of the consultations.
International Youth Day
Alliance members organized and celebrated International Youth Day at New Delhi on August 12, 2004 with about 300 young people and representatives of GOs/NGOs. Young participants from 12 states along with representatives of the Alliance presented their recommendations elicites and compiled during the National Consultations held in May 2004 to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in an effort to establish an interactive dialogues with policy makers.
The recommendations of the national consultations were shared at the international level during a conference organized by the Global Health Council in mid 2004
Collective efforts for formulation of the Youth Policy
The year 2003 was a milestone as Adolescents were recognized as an important group in the National Youth Policy. Two core members of the Youth Alliance, CHETNA and Population Foundation of India, took an initiative to draft the State Youth Policy of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Bihar and Jharkhand. A collective action was organized during May-June, 2006 in collaboration with the Department of Sports, Youth and Cultural Activities with the objective to jointly discuss issues and concerns of young people and bring forward recommendations to develop state specific youth policies. The Rajasthan state policy was formally declared in September 2008 by the department of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of Rajasthan (GOR).
Contribution to XI Five Year Plan (FYP)
During 2006, in the finalization phase of XI FYP of the Government of India (GOI), as a part of sub group and drafting committee, CHETNA, on behalf of National Alliance, contributed by drafting a paper on ‘Youth Development Perspective’. CHETNA was also a member of the working group which was involved in drafting recommendations to address the development concerns of adolescents to Planning Commission to be included in XI FYP. The Working Group on Adolescent Development for formulation of XI FYP had proposed five schemes and forwarded them to the planning commission for approval.
Interactive Dialogue on voices of Young people
The theme of World Population Day 11th July 2006 was Young People, which was celebrated by the Alliance through the young people together to share their views. Over 75 young people participated in the programme. They shared their concerns and needs with the Government representatives, NGOs and media representatives. All the concerned issues were discussed to plan programmes and policies for the overall development of young people and to reach out to them widely. A special session was organized to discuss strategies to reach out to young people to control the prevalence of HIV/AIDS.
During the program, about 25 young people were exposed to media advocacy strategies. The session helped them to develop an understanding of the importance of media in advocating their own concerns. They also learnt to create strategies through which they could involve the media in listening to them, take their concerns forward and influence policies and programmes at the national level.
Making the Youth and Adolescents responsible and sensitizing them on Population and Health Issues
To mark the occasion of the World Population Day (WPD) CHETNA, with Alliance partners, in collaboration with Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh (JSK), facilitated sessions on issues related to population stabilization on 11-12 July 2007 at New Delhi. The aim was to enhance young people’s understanding on life skills such as assertive communication, decision making, negotiation skills, etc to make young people responsible for population stabilization and their overall growth and development. Rights and Gender were the cross cutting issues. More than 500 youth of 16-20 age group from under served villages of the eight Empowered Action Group (EAG) States participated.
The sessions effectively elicited young people’s participation. Young people shared their experiences, such as efforts at family and community level. They found the sessions very interesting as they provided opportunity to interact and share their feelings, frustrations, concerns, arguments and action plans. Some of the young people also assured the facilitators that they would apply skills learnt during the sessions in the area of education, marriage and family planning in their own lives.
National dialogue on sexuality education in the Formal System
To develop a common understanding about the sudden decision of about 13 state governments to ban sex education from the formal school system, the Alliance partners collected information on the processes which took place at the state and national level. A series of meetings were organised to share information and learn from the experiences of youth and stakeholders involved in implementation of sex education. These meetings culminated in a national dialogue followed by organizing a satellite session in the 4th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health.
The ban on school based sexuality education program in some states of India raised a debate on the issue among different groups, lobbies and sectors. Considering the urgent need of the hour, the situation required to be reviewed rationally and appropriate decisions needed to be taken so that the young people may not be deprived of the right to information. The National Alliance organized a series of in-house discussions among the partners to advocate for re-introducing sexuality education in the curriculum at schools.
A national dialogue was organized to develop a common agenda for countering the mounting opposition to sexuality education in schools across the country on 6th August 2007 at New Delhi. A total of 23 participants including the State level representatives from the government, civil societies and funding agencies deliberated on the need to address this problem. During the discussion, it was pointed out that sexuality education was not new. It had been a part of the school curriculum for several years under different names. The use of the term ‘sex education’, however, was new and was probably responsible for the current controversy. A common consensus was arrived upon to use the term ‘adolescence education’ instead of sex education, with active involvement of students, teachers
Satellite session at 4th APCRSH, Hyderabad
A Satellite Session on “Family Life Education Through Life Skill Approach” was organized at the 4th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health (APCRSH) conference in Hyderabad by the National Youth Alliance. The main aim of the satellite session was to provide a platform to all concerned stakeholders to share their experiences of including sex education in school curriculums.
Approximately 70 representatives from national & international NGOs, donor organizations, individuals & young people participated. Youth representatives having exposure to RSH education from Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Gujarat, etc shared their views and experiences. A discussion was initiated by researchers on the NFHS III data highlighting the myths related to sexual and reproductive health(SRH) education vis-a-vis its reality, which was supported by an evidence based study. The study showed that parents rarely provided SRH information to the youth, and that peers and pornographic material were their main sources of information. A representative from National Council of Educational Research And Training (NCERT) clarified the role and commitment of the state on sexuality education issues to be integrated with the life skills program at the national level. As a cross learning effort, international experiences from Pakistan, Philippines, Cambodia, etc were shared where the role of their respective Governments were discussed. The growing percentage of young people in most developing countries would greatly benefit from resources and information for their development. It was concluded that a lack of money and /or time should not be the limiting factors. Efforts and publications of the Alliance and its partners were showcased at a stall at the conference.
Contributed in the process of National Youth Policy 2010
A National Youth Consultation in collaboration with Gains and Gaps ICPD +15: A Civil Society Review, was organized during 3rd to 5th August 2010 where 70 young people from 11 states of India participated. Various socio economic groups, religions, geographical areas, minority groups and HIV positive people participated in the consultation.
As an outcome of this consultation, an advocacy brief was developed and widely disseminated among important stakeholders.
The recommendations were shared with Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth and Development (RGNIYD), the organization that undertook the task of drafting the National Youth Policy.
The first draft of the National Youth Policy received was circulated among the members of National Youth Alliance. The suggestions were compiled and forwarded to RGNIYD. The review of the draft National Youth Policy was a witness to the fact that many of the suggestions which were included in the policy brief, report of the National Youth consultation and the report of the focus Group discussions were reflected in the National Youth Policy.
Contribution in 12th Five year plan
The Planning Commission of India encouraged Civil Society organizations to actively participate in formulation of the 12th Five year plan. NGOs under the network Wada Na Todo took responsibility of organizing various consultations on different issues. Swaasthya, CHETNA and Smile Foundation jointly organised a consultation to bring in the voices of the adolescents. Adolescents and various stakeholders working on the issues of adolescents shared a common a platform to discuss their views, challenges and experiences in a consultation mode in the month of November 2010 at New Delhi. The report of the consultation was submitted to Planning Commission along with the main report.
A National Dialogue on March 4, 2013
A day long National Dialogue ‘ Moving Ahead towards Healthy Future for Adolescent Health and Development was organised on 4th March 2013 in New Delhi. The dialogue aimed to provide a platform for bringing voices from the ground to policy makers so that the programme and policies for young people are based on local realities. A total of 50 representatives form Governement/ Non Government organisations/ UN Agencies and independent senior researchers participated.
Advocating for the release of the National Youth Policy 2014
The exposure draft of the policy was released in 2012. The policy was in the draft form for almost two years. On the occasion of International Youth Day 12th August 2013 CHETNA designed and disseminated a folder on the Young People issues and challenges in both English and Hindi among the Youth Alliance partners and with a few prominent news papers of the country. A letter to the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs was written to emphasize the need for the policy that would enable various state and central government departments to undertake joint programmes for the youth. Along with advocacy efforts of the Alliance partners and other civil society organisations to establish a strong coordinating mechanism for inter-sectoral approaches, the National Youth Policy was released by the Government of India on 14th January 2014.
National Consultation “Our Health Our Choices” with Adolescents
During 2012, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare drafted the National Adolescent Health Strategy by ensuring the participation of the Civil Society Organizations and adolescents. As a part of this process CHETNA was assigned the responsibility of collecting information on approaches and strategies used by Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to improve adolescent health. CHETNA documented forty initiatives of CSOs including the Alliance partners across the country.
In addition, a National Consultation Our Health Our Choices with Adolescents was jointly organized by UNFPA/CHETNA and World Comics International on 4th and 5th January 2014 at Vishwa Yuva Kendra, New Delhi. The partners of the National Youth Alliance along with the youth representatives participated. The Adolescent Health Strategy was launched on 7th January 2014, by Honourable Health Minister Mr Gulam Nabi Azad. Inclusive of adolescents from the most marginalised communities, this gender-sensitive strategy aims to empower them through better counselling and access to health information, services and supportive environments evolved by multi-sectoral partnerships at state and national levels.
During the launch CHETNA as a secretariat of the National Youth Alliance presented the Commitments of CSOs to support in implementation of the Adolescent Health Strategy which is now known as Rastriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram.
Mapping of Civil Society Organisations working on issues related to adolescents and young people
As the secretariat of Youth Alliance, CHETNA at present is carrying out an exercise of mapping Civil Society Organisations working on development issues adolescent and youth people like health, nutrition, safety, education and livelihood etc. across the country. These organisations will then be invited to be the member of the National Youth Alliance.