Networking Update July – December 2008
Networking is the carrying strategy for the entire YSRHR project and for sustainability. It has elements of interface with advocacy and other strategies like, informatics, phased intervention, research and documentation in order to address SRHR needs of young people in the country context. The SRIJAN network established as a part of this strategy has its presence in 7 states of India with 135 network partners in 101 districts.
The administrative structure of the Network consists of five State Facilitating Agencies (SFA) that coordinate with the Partner NGOs at State Level in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and West Bengal. In two states viz. Bihar and Uttar Pradesh administrative set up of networking is divided into Zones and operationalised through Zonal Coordinators. Network has National Secretariat at MAMTA, New Delhi
The key YRSHR issues namely:
Prevention of Early Marriage and Early Pregnancy,
Youth people and HIV ,
Youth friendly services,
Retention of children in educational institutions and,
Addressing sex ratio
These issues are to be addressed through advocacy and community based interventions. Since the inception network has gradually evolved its own mechanism of working and sharing of responsibilities to address the issues of young people in the intervention districts. Till June 2008, the network will have strengthened and capacitated a large number of network partners on various aspects of YRSHR such as gender and sexuality, early marriage and early pregnancy, sexuality education, youth friendly health services and HIV and AIDS. More than two thirds of partners reached out through training on Gender and Sexuality and thus sensitized them on young people’s sexuality and Rights issues. Youth forums at districts were strengthened and at state and national level were formed to support advocacy efforts of the SRIJAN.
· Seven Technical support visits were conducted with the SFAs and network partner partners during the reporting period. This year more focus was given on sustainability of 121 drop-in centers operational in the network. Integration of drop-in centers with the NYKS clubs was given more stress. Through the technical support visit action plans, financial utility and timely delivery of reports were mainstreamed in the network.
· In all the SRIJAN States, a state level youth forum was formed. The forum will be act as satellite to the district level SRIJAN partners on advocacy of YRSHR issues in the district. In all the SRIJAN state level youth forum, 20-25 selected young people are the members of the state Youth Forum. State Youth Forum.
· Experiential learning on Youth Friendly Health Services has been documented with the network partners, stakeholders and peer educators. Entire set of experiences and learning would be shared with the key stakeholders at national and state level along with partner NGOs. Some of these initiatives at the state level particularly in Gosaiganj site of Uttar Pradesh have made their way into print media
· On 29th July the National consultation on revised AEP tool kit and its Dissemination to state level stakeholders from Department of Education, Ministry of HRD and State AIDS Control organisation was organised by NACO.
The process followed for preparation of the tool kit was shared with the audience,
followed by a series of group discussions on key action points on ‘how to take the AEP agenda forward at the respective state level.
· In West Bengal with the support of West Bengal AIDS Control Society (WBSACS), Health Vision and Research, the SFA raised fund for the Network Partners to launch an awareness generation camp on HIV and AIDS for High Risk Population such as migrant workers, female sex workers and truckers. SFA was technical and monitoring agency implement in the program in SRIJAN districts.
· 40 NGO partners conducted advocacy on World AIDS day. The district where programs were conducted are A, B, C category districts according to surveillance report by NACO on HIV and AIDS. Across all the districts positive young people and key stakeholders such as community leaders, members of Panchayati Raj institutions, health service providers and media persons were involved during the advocacy program. All members of district youth forum were also involved in the program.
· As a forward movement from informatics strategy follow-up trainings were organised for the trainers from SRIJAN partners organizations on Gender and Sexuality . This was a good culmination for a pool of resource persons from within SRIJAN who could be drawn upon when needed for further training of SRIJAN staff and field team on issues of gender and sexuality.
· 3 Basic trainings were organised on Gender and Sexuality, for SRIJAN partners and their respective field staff to integrate elements of gender dimension and facilitate in ‘breaking the silence’ around sexuality. This has proven to be a significant contribution towards positive health seeking behaviour in a gender just rights context.
· First meeting of National Youth Forum was held in December 2008. 61 young people from the entire gamut of District and State youth forum have participated in the meeting. This exercise witnessed nomination followed by campaign and election of the executive board of National Youth forum, consisting of President, vice president, Secretary and cosecretary. The forum will advocate the YSHRHR issues with the policy makers and with the key stakeholders at national level and state levels. The platform gave an opportunity for young people to interact with senior officials from NACO and NYKS, understand their state and district structures of programming and scope for young people’s participation.
· 34 SRIJAN partners have been supported for community mobilization initiatives based on their expression of interest to conduct an advocacy campaign in their respective districts on National Youth Day (12th January), 2009. Young people’s issues were cross-cutting and thematic issues like age at marriage, youth and HIV and need for sexuality education, adolescent pregnancy and so on were prioritized based on the district demographic status (as evidenced from the data). Involvement of key stakeholders was emphasized as an important element of the activity and it churned out significant media coverage
· State level meeting was held with elected representatives (MLAs) in Patna(Bihar) The meeting was chaired by Hon’ble Health Minister of Bihar. The meeting was successful in brining young people’s issues and their health and developmental status on board with regards to Millennium Development goals and state NFHS figues.. The occasion witnessed young people sharing their thoughts through a folk song on ‘age at marriage’. This was followed by brief address from Legislative assembly members, MAMTA team and key note address by Honorable minister Shri Nand Kishore Yadav ji.
Efforts are on for MLA meet in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh.
· Sharing of institutional journey and learning of experiences on issues of Maternal and Child Health, Young People’s Sexual Reproductive health and Integrated health and developmental initiatives towards HIV prevention management and treatment and care and support; was undertaken with Research Triangle International (India country team) and at the KPMG- International Conference, Delhi. These institutional Dissemination exercises have contributed towards furthering reach and widening the catchment area.