Technical Assistance—School Health and Wellness Program
With funding from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), EngenderHealth supports the expansion of the Government of India’s flagship adolescent health programs by providing technical assistance, developing and implementing innovative strategies, and evidence gathering. The Technical Assistance—School Health and Wellness Program operates across six states in India (Bihar, Delhi, Odisha, Rajasthan, Punjab, and Madhya Pradesh). The program’s overarching goal is to enhance the responsiveness and effectiveness of existing national adolescent health programs, promote the holistic development of adolescents, and address challenges in adolescent health and well-being.
India has the largest adolescent (age 10-19) population in the world, estimated at 253 million, over 20% of the total population, according to the International Center for Research on Women. The Guttmacher Institute estimates that 2 million adolescent women across India have an unmet need for modern contraception. The Government of India’s national flagship adolescent health programs, Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) and School Health and Wellness Program (SHWP), target adolescents aged 10 to 19. The programs represent a shift from facility-based, curative clinical service delivery to a more holistic approach emphasizing community-based health promotion and preventive care.
The Technical Assistance—School Health and Wellness Program aims to strengthen the implementation of and expand access to RKSK and SHWP through technical assistance, innovative strategies, and evidence gathering. EngenderHealth, in collaboration with UNFPA, provides technical aid at the national and state levels to strengthen the implementation of these adolescent health programs. This encompasses technical support, activity monitoring, and capacity strengthening. We provide technical support to implement state priorities, organize national- and state-level training sessions, convene district- and state-level meetings to facilitate collaboration, provide supportive supervision to monitor field activities, and support the implementation of the management information system for SHWP tech-based reporting. Additionally, EngenderHealth and UNFPA are developing and implementing innovative strategies to enhance the effectiveness of RKSK and SHWP in participating states, such as the rollout and review of a need-based mentoring strategy. Further, EngenderHealth supports UNFPA in generating the evidence needed to best advocate for increased investments in and expansion of RKSK and SHWP nationwide. We believe sharing learnings, best practices, and innovations amongst NGOs and organizing events to expand engagement are key to achieving our goals.
EngenderHealth employs a participatory, inclusive, youth-centered approach to engage young people in all phases of programming to ensure that our work is done with, not just for, them and responds to their needs and priorities. To that end, we are creating an enabling environment for young people to participate in designing, implementing, and monitoring policies and programs to advance the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Program of Action. Crucially, we are engaging with adolescents to increase both their demand for and their use of high-quality health services. We are establishing a youth collaborative that includes representatives from participating states who will bring their cumulative experiences of working with young people to the table, and we will facilitate periodic meetings of this network so that representatives can inform program implementation. We are also providing professional development opportunities for young people, with a particular focus on adolescent girls from marginalized populations. These sessions take the form of online coaching and mentoring courses and cover themes such as leadership, communication, and social action.
RKSK and SHWP focus on integrating and institutionalizing age-appropriate and gender-transformative life skills education in community settings and educational institutions. We are also working with UNFPA to assess and promote policies for and investment in sex education programs that meet internationally agreed-upon standards. By strengthening and expanding access to these health programs for adolescents—particularly girls and young women—and transforming gender norms, we can accelerate progress toward a gender-equitable society.