Youth First Program | CorStone

Youth First

Youth First | India

Background + Situation

  • Bihar’s sex ratio is among the worst in India, with just 846 girls per 1,000 boys among youth ages 15-24 years
  • Over 35% of all reported HIV infections in India occur among the age group 15-24 years
  • The Indian suicide death rate is among the highest in the world
  • 40% of India’s suicide deaths in men + 56% of suicide deaths in women occur in the age group 15-29 years

CorStone Response | Youth First

CorStone’s Youth First program works to foster development ‘from the inside out,’ providing an evidence-based approach to impact the health and education—and positive life trajectory—of India’s adolescent youth. Based on the well-documented impacts of our Girls First | Bihar program, Youth First provides an integrated, school-based, resilience and adolescent health training program to improve mental and physical health, school performance and engagement, self-advocacy, social skills and relationships among youth.

Youth attend facilitated peer support groups led by trained schoolteachers during the school day for one hour each week. A typical lesson combines 20-30 minutes of skill building followed by 30 minutes of group discussion and problem-solving.

Working in partnership with the Bihar Education Project Council and The David & Lucile Packard Foundation, scale-up trials in 2016-17 involving over 100 schools were held to elucidate the training, processes and supports required to deliver and sustain a viable teacher-led integrated resilience and health program in government schools at large scale in Bihar.

In 2018, CorStone launched a major 3-year longitudinal evaluation study to understand how Youth First impacts resilience:

  1. | Short-term outcomes in social and emotional development (e.g. resilience, self-efficacy, communication skills)
  2. | Longer-term improvements in education, gender equity, and Sexual and Reproductive Health| SRH including gender attitudes, education completion, delay of marriage, use of family planning, and delayed first pregnancy
Also in 2018, CorStone and the Bihar Education Project Council entered into a comprehensive agreement to jointly implement a three-year (2019-2022) ‘Demonstration Model’ for scale-up of Youth First to 1,100 middle schools and 126,500 students across all 9 divisions of Bihar. This effort will establish foundational capacity in key geographic hubs throughout Bihar to be drawn upon for future roll-out and expansion.

icon-arrow-circle-right | Measurable Impact | Research

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