Being a pioneering educational institute in the state of Odisha, India, Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) provides free education and residential facilities to 22,500 Tribal students, out of which 12000 are Adolescents. From 2009, with the support of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), KISS has been endeavouring to hone the abilities of its Adolescents through Life Skills Education (LSE) based Adolescent Reproductive Sexual Health (ARSH) education in order to enable them to deal with the demands and challenges in their life effectively. The proposed intervention in KISS aims at building institutional capacity and networking with other potential institutions to overcome knowledge and skills deficit in the state for the promotion of LSE.
During these years, several initiatives have been undertaken for promotion of LSE among tribal adolescents in KISS as well as it emerged as a resource center in the state on Life Skills based Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) education. From the year 2012 to 2014, in a phased manner, the life skills based SRH education was scaled up to 500 residential schools covering 318 tribal residential high schools and 182 Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs) in collaboration with ST and SC Development (SSD) and School and Mass Education (S&ME) Department, Government of Odisha respectively. KISS provided handholding and technical support in implementation of Life skill based SRH education program in schools.
In 2015, the intervention would not only focus on empowering adolescents with LSE-SRH but also institutionalizing the intervention for its long term sustainability within the institute. The resource persons will continue to extend technical support for life skill based ARSH in the State and the region. In addition, emphasis will be for promoting research on ARSH for evidence generation and advocacy through capacity enhancement of the institute.
Following are some of the highlights of those strategic initiatives undertaken in KISS.
Resource persons have been identified from among the faculty and teachers of KISS for promoting LSE and ARSH. Training and Exposure programs have been organized for their capacity building. Resource and communication materials on LSE and ARSH are developed and adopted with the guidance and approval of Ethical committee and Mentoring Group members of KISS. Course based curriculum has been developed on LSE and ARSH for the School Adolescents by incorporating appropriate subjects and lessons from the available lessons.
College students have been trained as peer educators who are promoting LSE and ARSH among the peer groups. For encouraging the Adolescents to internalize Life Skills, the peer educators are taking awareness sessions on healthy practices through role plays, puppet shows, Pala, Daskathia(local folk media), debate, slogan, competitions, mock assembly etc. Exposure visits to public utility places are also organized for the students to develop their skills in accessing the benefits of the system. Researches on LSE and ARSH issues have been initiated in the project by inviting supports from major Universities of Odisha.
The Project Management Unit has extended its support to different educational institutions and NGOs for undertaking LSE and ARSH interventions in their project areas. Steps have also been initiated for imparting training to the teachers of SC and ST residential schools to adopt similar initiatives at their institute level. Advocacy activities have also been undertaken for the integration of LSE in the formal education.
With the introduction of Life Skills Education in the institution the KISS Adolescents have been empowered with enhanced knowledge on ARSH and positive behavior is reflected in their practice.