With an objective to enable reach beyond its intervention areas, Tata Steel is initiating a health project for adolescents, Project Rishta, in the Rajnagar block of Seraikela-Kharsawan district, in Jamshedpur. The project aims to cover 239 villages in the block.

The nodal agency for the project is Tata Steel Rural Development Society (TSRDS) and its implementing partners are AID, KGVK, SPAR and SLADS, and other non-government organisations.

The project is being implemented in selected areas of Jharkhand and Odisha by TSRDS, with eight of its executive partners – Tata Motors, FPAI, TSRD, TSFIF, AID, KGVK, SPAR and SLADS. The project is designed to improve the well-being of adolescents and enable them to make informed decisions and choices about their sexual and reproductive health. The first two phases of this project covered 661 villages and 34 semi-urban slums from seven blocks of East Singhbhum and 305 villages from six blocks of Seraikela-Kharsawan respectively, reaching out to more than 40,000 adolescents.

The third phase, in order to scale up the project, intends to build a robust model based on the learning from earlier phases. Project Rishta is being seen as a replicable example for other Tata group companies as well as the corporate world, encouraging them to invest in sexual and reproductive health of youth as a part of their CSR programmes.

The primary aim of the project is to increase knowledge and change beliefs and practices about the reproductive and sexual health of boys and girls, married or unmarried, between the age-group of 12-19 years. The project has a special focus on understanding changes during adolescence, menstrual cycle and hygiene, reproductive organ functions, gender equality, conception and contraceptive use, RTI/STI and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, safe abortion care services, nutrition and health, gender equality, delaying age of marriage, delaying first pregnancy, etc.

Major activities under the project would include setting up of youth resource centres (YRCs), strengthening the YRCs to engage with young people and communities on health and reproductive issues, training YRC members, peer educators and mentors on RH issues, provide leadership and vocational training opportunities to young people in the programme area. YRCs will engage communities on RH issues by conducting behaviour change communication campaigns using street theatre (Nukkad Natak), puppet shows, chau dance and conducting events on important days. The chief guest for the launch event was Dwarika Baitha, block development officer, Seraikela-Kharsawan. Dr SK Jha, civil surgeon, Seraikela- Kharsawan; Dr Rajani Mahakud, MOIC, Rajnagar; Suman Murmu, block pramukh; Dobro Deogam, zilla parishad member; Biren Bhuta, chief, corporate sustainability services, Tata Steel; Dr PC Mohapatra, head family initiatives and health; Dr Tejinder Pal Kaur, Rishta project coordinator, were also present as were team members and representatives from partner organisations.

 

SOURCE: India Education Diary

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