Influencing policy on early marriage in India

Young Lives has been supporting state-level approaches to early marriage and the development of effective adolescent sexual and reproductive health care policies in India.

In May 2016, Young Lives organised research dissemination workshops on the topic of early marriage in Hyderabad, New Delhi and Jaipur. These were well-attended by state and national government departments, national and state NGOs, and international organisations, and widely reported in the media.

As a direct result of these workshops Young Lives, was able to develop a formal partnership with the National Council for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) through a Memorandum of Understanding. NCPCR has good links to state-level actors through State Commissions for the Protection of Child Rights, and has the power to convene senior representatives from across government and the research community.

Through its partnership with NCPCR, Young Lives is supporting the development of a national strategy and standard operating procedures to address child marriage, and state, and district-level plans in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The partnership enables Young Lives to work with officials from across government, civil society and the research community.

Beyond NCPCR, there has been continued demand for Young Lives evidence on child marriage, early childbearing, and adolescent sexual and reproductive health. Case studies have been shared with the Government of India’s Ministry of Women and Child Development, at their request. In an innovative development, Young Lives was invited to be part of a UNICEF Technical Advisory Group developing a multimedia initiative on gender empowerment for adolescents, in collaboration with BBC Media Action. Young Lives’ case studies have been incorporated into the resulting TV series, ‘AdhaFULL’ (‘half full’), a social thriller which launched in October 2016.

The project aims to break the silence surrounding sensitive issues affecting young people, challenge traditions that perpetuate gender stereotypes, and boost the ability of teenagers to take action to improve their lives.

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© Young Lives / Sarika Gulati