“Young People Should be Better Informed About Sexual Reproductive Health”

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New Delhi, 17 July 2018: The Young Lives India Report on Marital and Fertility Decision-Making: The Lived Experiences of Adolescents and Young Married Couples in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, was launched on 17 July 2018 by Hon’ble Chief Guest, Ms. Rupa Kapoor, Member, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights. Representatives from NGOs, the UN and donor agencies, research institutes and national media joined the launch event.


The report pulls together findings from a qualitative sub-study conducted by Young Lives in 2016-17 in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, with the aim of generating rich qualitative information about the early experiences of marital life.


Releasing the Young Lives India Qualitative Sub-Study report 2016-17, Ms. Rupa Kapoorsaid:

“Policy focus needs to be given primarily on adolescent reproductive and sexual health and informed choices. Information at the grassroot level on gender, SRH rights and issues, and contraceptive use needs to be provided”

The objectives of the study were to:

·         Deepen the understanding of the influencers of fertility decisions among young married couples

·         Ascertain the services and support available to married young women and couples

·         Produce research findings for use by policy makers.


Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are among the top states reporting high adolescent fertility: 12 and 11 per cent of young women in the age group of 15-19 years in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, respectively, were already mothers or pregnant when a survey was carried out in 2015/16

The research was carried out as part of Young Lives, a longitudinal study of childhood poverty that, in India, traced the life trajectories of 3,000 children (in two age groups) and their households located in the two states, over a 15-year period. By age 18, around 28 per cent of girls in the Young Lives study had married, and 23 per cent of these married girls had also become mothers.


Addressing the launch, Kulbir Krishnan, Advisor (POCSO & JJ), National Commission for Protection of Child Rights said:

“We need to focus on delaying child marriage for boys and girls till they reach their legal age but we must recognise that it is a reality for many and we need to identify ways of supporting them”


These comments draw on the key findings from this report which go beyond existent insights into the drivers of young marriage and child-bearing and offer context-appropriate recommendations for policy and programming to address these:


·         Adolescent girls continue to have limited choice in who and when they marry.

·         Sex education in schools is failing young people.

·         Adolescent girls and their spouses enter marital life with limited knowledge about modern contraceptive choices.

·         Although contraceptive options are available, they are not reaching the young married couples who want or need them.

·         Contraceptive use is very low among young married couples.

·         Sterilisation of women in their early twenties is common after they have had children.

·         Boys and young men are marginalised from sexual and reproductive health services.

·         Although girls who marry in early adolescence are particularly vulnerable, marrying over the age of 18 does not guarantee improved freedoms and choices in marital and fertility decision-making. ww.younglives-india.org SEPTEMBER 2014

Dr. Renu Singh, Country Director, Young Lives India concluded “This report highlights the mutually reinforcing influences of families, service providers, economic circumstances, and gendered cultural and social expectations that shaped and constrained the agency and choices of girls and young women as they moved from being ‘daughters’ to ‘daughters-in-law’, ‘wives’ and first-time ‘mothers’. It is critical for society to not look at talking about Sexual reproductive health as taboo and we need to create safe spaces where young adolescent girls and boys are able to access both information and services in the community. Making secondary education a fundamental right is critical to prevent child marriage as well as building skills amongst young adolescents that is needed for carving a better future.”


Notes for editors

Young Lives is an international study of childhood poverty, following the lives of 12,000 children in four countries (Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam) over fifteen years. www.younglives.org.uk In India, Young Lives conducts research in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, which collectively have almost 85 million inhabitants; 7% of the Indian population.


Young Lives is funded by UK aid from the Department for International Development (DFID). Young Lives India is a collaboration between CESS (Hyderabad), SPMVV (Tirupati), Save the Children, and University of Oxford (UK). For more details, visit www.younglives-india.org


Young Lives India Country Director, Dr Renu Singh is available for expert comment and interview. Copies of presentations, data sheets, publications and event photographs and videos are available on request.


For related findings, please follow Young Lives India on Twitter @YoungLivesIndia with #YLChildMarriage


Contact: Ms. Sultanat Khan, Research Communication and Events Coordinator Young Lives India

Mobile # +91 8510807860

Email: skhan@younglives.insultanat.ylcomms@gmail.com

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