ICRW Participates in Launch of India’s National Adolescent Health Strategy

Article Date

08 January 2014

Media Contact

Anne McPherson

Vice President, Global Communications email [email protected]

Recognizing that healthy adolescents are critical to the future prosperity of its nation, the Government of India this week has launched the country’s first national adolescent health strategy.

The strategy, which aims to provide an enabling environment for adolescents to realize their full potential, addresses six critical priority areas: reproductive and sexual health; mental and emotional wellbeing; healthy lifestyles; violence-free living; improved nutrition; and the prevention of substance abuse. Known as Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram in Hindi, the new strategy is the focus of a three-day conference this week in New Delhi. The conference will convene leading experts and stakeholders in the field of adolescent health and development to share findings and discuss effective solutions for addressing the many challenges that adolescents face.   

Ravi Verma, Director of ICRW’s Asia Regional Office, played an important role in the process. As a member of the Adolescent Health Technical Resource Group, he helped review adolescent health materials developed for the strategy and advised the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on this week’s launch. As a result, the Government of India invited ICRW, along with a few other select organizations, to showcase their organizations’ work this week.   

Verma is participating in two panel discussions examining the structural drivers of gender disparities, with a particular focus on how harmful interpretations of masculinity formed during adolescence can lead to violence against women and girls.  He will also touch upon two innovative ICRW programs in India working with adolescent boys and girls – one school-based and the other rooted in sports – that are fostering more equitable gender beliefs and healthier behaviors.  His presentation will also focus on the importance of engaging men and boys in institutional settings in order to achieve gender equality and prevent gender-based violence. A recent ICRW study identifies key factors that influence Indian men’s views about masculinity and how these views impact their preference for sons, and perpetrate intimate partner violence.

Priya Nanda, Director of Reproductive Health and Economic Development for ICRW’s Asia Regional Office, is also taking part in the conference. In collaboration with Suzanne Petroni, ICRW’s Senior Director of Gender, Population and Development, Nanda yesterday presented on ICRW-identified solutions to prevent child marriage. Although great strides have been made to reduce levels of child marriage in India by the government and the nongovernmental community, the country still has some of the highest rates in the world. The majority of girls who become child brides in the country are married in adolescence.

For more information on the new strategy and conference, visit the conference website and follow Ravi Verma @ravi-rverma, and Suzanne Petroni @suzp.