Operation ASHA is implementing a project on Adolescent Sexual Health and Behaviour- named ‘Kissa Kahani’, in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. This is a multi-year, international project launched in 2015, in collaboration with University of Chicago.
It uses innovative participatory research techniques like storytelling and narratives to assess current awareness levels around sexual and reproductive health among adolescents. Having done so, the project team then supports and motivates the beneficiaries (youth themselves) to act as partners and develop youth focused solutions to overcome socio-cultural barriers to issues like gender equality, contraceptive service delivery and uptake, family planning etc.
The project is broadly divided into two phases. First phase of the project did extensive outreach activities to meet 260 young boys and girls in the age group of 15 to 24 yrs, through partner organizations in the Slums of Lucknow.Digital Storytelling and other innovative research techniques like character games, body mapping, story circles, life course interviews etc. were used to understand youth’s perspective and experiences with issues of gender equity, sexual and reproductive health and family planning. These approaches helped the participating youth to either build or strengthen relationships with adults and other people in their social networks, develop skills to engage in real-world roles and orient them towards future goals.
Findings of the research study in the first phase were used to launch a short duration ‘Small Grants Program’ in the next phase. Through this program, OpASHA is working with five youth-led organizations in Uttar Pradesh, to implement tried and tested solutions for improving sexual and reproductive health among adolescents, in their respective target communities.