TARUNYA Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health (ARSH)
In Jharkhand, one of the regions where EngenderHealth works, 63% of adolescent girls are married before they are 18, and at least one in four 15–19-year-olds are mothers. Young adolescents face a higher risk of complications or death from pregnancy and childbirth than do older women. Adolescents typically do not have access to reproductive and sexual health information, and these services are not typically youth-friendly.
Since 2008, EngenderHealth has led the TARUNYA Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health (ARSH) Project in India, beginning in Jharkhand, and in 2011 the project expanded into the region of Bihar. The project has three components: First, the project improves the availability and quality of health services for young people in India by increasing health care professionals’ awareness about the health needs of adolescents. Second, the project educates young people about their sexual and reproductive health and about the availability of youth-friendly services. Third, the project advocates for supportive policies to ensure a safe, comfortable, and responsive environment for adolescents to access health services.
ARSH is already creating long-lasting change for adolescents in India. Among a group of nearly 300 adolescents who participated in educational sessions, 87% had learned about how to prevent pregnancy and HIV.