The National Family Health Survey (NFHS 4) data reveals that only 10% of currently married adolescent females (15-19 years) and 16% of sexually active unmarried adolescent females use any modern methodology of contraception. One in every five girls aged 15-19 in India experiences childbearing before age 17. Nearly 60% of females aged 15-19 years had no say over their own marriage, education and health care. Further, there are studies that reveal that over 67% of India’s 355 million girls and women of reproductive age experience various negative Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) outcomes such as poor menstrual hygiene, early and closely spaced pregnancy, unsafe abortions, sexually transmitted infections (STI’s), and sexual violence. The issue of reproductive health rights of adolescents, under-aged marriage and adolescent pregnancy within and outside marriage remains a blind spot in India. Adolescent girls rank the lowest in terms of awareness about sexual health, family planning methods and their rights. India’s National Adolescent Health Program (NAHP), aimed at improving the access of youth to community health clinics and services has been found to have an uneven implementation, limited awareness, inadequate training and sensitization of health care providers, lack of utilization by adolescents, poor quality and unavailability of supporting infrastructure. There is a huge need to combine life skill training with SRHR education to enable girls to access not only SRHR services but also to build their capacities to make life choices related to education, livelihoods, and health.
CREA was established in 2000 in Delhi with a mission to advance women’s human rights, including reproductive rights, violence against women and sexuality. Through grassroots leadership development, technical assistance, and advocacy and research, CREA works to move the needle for women in the global south, with a focus on India. To ensure their training curricula and research results reach the largest audience, they publish materials in both English and Hindi, many geared toward low-literacy audiences. CREA’s ‘Count Me In – It’s My Body’ (IMB) initiative seeks to address violence and discrimination against females (including child marriage and sex-selection) through community-level awareness-raising, door-to-door campaigns, art, and performance. EMpower helped CREA spearhead its sports programming to build the health knowledge, skills and body confidence of girls, and to change perceptions about girls’ right to play and be in public spaces. CREA is known within India and internationally as a path-breaking organization for advocating sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR). Their learnings from this grant will directly benefit their partners in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Bihar, as well as in other geographies. Geetanjali Mishra is the director of CREA and played a significant role in developing different tiers of leadership in the organization. Since 2014 they adopted a ‘starfish’ model of internal organizational structure, building teams that can function both independently and in tandem with each other.
EMpower’s 6th grant will support CREA in strengthening local community organizations working with girls and women in 2 of India’s most populous, impoverished and traditional and challenging states of Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. This will be done through strengthening the M&E capacity among five community-based partner organizations and developing and disseminating critical information around sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) for communities that may not know English. This relationship is a strategic relationship for EMpower as EMpower India team aims to leverage CREA’s expertise in SRHR and build capacity among EMpower’s grantee partners in India.
Primary Location: Delhi
Funded Since: 2012
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