In a country which struggled to meet its Millennium Development Goals and continues to rank amongst the lowest in the world on global gender indexes, Aahung, a local sexual and reproductive health and rights based NGO, is using Life Skills Based Education (LSBE) to empower adolescent girls and boys. Founded in 1995, Aahung has spent over 20 years working with adolescents to promote their access to sexual and reproductive health information, education and health resources.
Aahung’s LSBE curriculum has been designed to address issues of violence and body protection, nutrition, early age marriage, puberty, HIV and AIDS and build essential life coping skills in young people. It has been developed locally and translated into provincial languages, and has been thoroughly reviewed and endorsed by an external review committee consisting of head masters, teachers, religious scholars and representatives from the Department of Education. The curriculum has three different levels of implementation to ensure age appropriateness and acceptability.
The UNGEI best practices case study outlines the strategies that Aahung has undertaken to implement the LSBE curriculum in a politically complex and often conservative climate. It identifies mechanisms that were used to overcome stakeholder discomfort with the curriculum content and build ownership and trust at the community and school level. Moreover, the case study also identifies strategies for evaluation and demarcates multiple levels at which evaluation can take place, including the household level to further uncover how adolescent empowerment programs can impact the larger community.
Perhaps most importantly, the case study also elaborates on the strategies that are being used to ensure sustainability of Aahung’s programs through parallel advocacy efforts with the government. The goal of the advocacy is to enable the public sector to develop ownership of the content and work towards building school and teacher capacity to integrate LSBE in the provincial curriculum of Sindh.