October 1999, the Swedish International Development
Agency (SIDA) lent its support to a pilot project
formulated by Swedish Association for Sexuality
Education, (RFSU), with over 70 years of experience in sexuality
education in Sweden. MAMTA and RFSU met in October 1999
to look into areas of collaboration and twinning. A joint proposal
‘Evolving strategies for Optimum Health and Development of Young
People’ was submitted to SIDA by the two partners and got approval to
work for 3 years (Phase 1). The proposal looked at developing and
testing strategies to work on the sensitive issue of Young People’s
Reproductive and Sexual Health (YRSH) with a
gender and rights perspective.
part of this agreement various other NGOs working on similar issues
throughout the nation were identified. Thus an attempt was made to
harness the isolated efforts being made by these NGOs by initiating a
network across the geographical expanse of the country. SRIJAN (Sexual
and Reproductive Health Initiative for
now spread over 7 states of India and having
about 126 members is spearheading the efforts to mainstream the issues
of young people and provide them visibility in the current
socio-cultural settings and political scenario. This network is
currently covering about 100 districts (total 240 districts) in these
states. Besides this, MAMTA is directly implementing projects in many
other districts of the country.
current phase aims to consolidate and strengthen the SRIJAN network
through all possible means. In order to improve the functioning of the
network and distribute responsibility within all partners; forming a
Charter of the SRIJAN network, which will further strengthen
communication links and common understanding about YRSHR issues
between the State Facilitating Agencies (SFAs) and the Central agency
(MAMTA), is a key objective. Discussion to share functional
responsibilities with the network partners have been initiated,
although at this time the SFAs feel that the network needs to be
further strengthened before delegation of responsibilities is done.
The ultimate aim is to increase the sense of belonging and ownership
in the SRIJAN network and have sharing of responsibilities.
emphasis on capacity building of all partner agencies in a structured
manner will continue in the second phase, with the aim that the
partner agencies in turn, will capacitate other organizations in the
state to work on YRSHR issues.
South East Asia Regional (SEAR) Network on YRSHR:
with its understanding on
the issues of young people in the region and RFSU with a long experience of working on sexuality issues in
different parts of the world felt that the twinning effort had matured
to an extent that they could undertake a training programme of this
nature in the regional context.
and RFSU jointly conducted the first Advanced International Training
programme on YSRHR
for 10 South Asian countries in September 2003 at New Delhi. Both the
organisations have gained immensely from the experiences and the
learning will help in strengthening the next course.
MAMTA got an insight into the needs and concerns of young
people in the SEAR and also the diverse training needs of the
individuals /institutions working with young people.
This has also helped
us to initiate the YSRHR network of committed professionals and
organizations across South East Asia.
MAMTA hopes to expand this network
with the addition of new members (organizations and individuals) with
subsequent training programs. This network aims to encourage resource
sharing between the network partners, developing mutual partnership
and collaborations between network organizations /individuals whenever
feasible and to jointly advocate for YSRHR issues.