The program aims to address the needs of young women in urban areas in four slum communities of Asansol and Siliguri, both urban areas in West Bengal, as part of a situational analysis. The aim of the overall scoping study will be to gather information through desk research, interviews, focus group discussions (FGDs) and partner engagement that will then inform program development. It is expected that the research will be distributed to external audiences in order to contribute to the broader discourse on young urban women, as well as interventions to address the barriers to receiving all of their rights.
The ages between 15 and 25 is a critical time in any woman’s life, yet surprisingly little research exists on the kinds of livelihood opportunities and challenges young women face. At the same time, there is an emerging discourse and interest in supporting young people to mobilize. ActionAid is also committing to strengthening work on youth as part of the new 2012-2017 strategy, People’s Action to End Poverty. In addition, there is increasing evidence that many of these young people are in urban areas, where most development organizations have not had much programming focus nor experience.
The FGDs were conducted in slums, Community Development Societies and counsellors offices. Asansol had a total of 70 participants in the six FGDs in Asansol slums, of which 23 were men. They were mostly in the age group 15-24. Siliguri had total of 71 participants in six FGDs of 15 were men. They were mostly in the age group of 14-25. Most were below the poverty line.
Action Aid intends to launch an innovative program that brings together young women’s economic empowerment and sexual and reproductive health and rights. This study carried out by SAATHII will help to better inform this program.
ActionAid approached Praajak, a social development agency to protect the rights of youth, to facilitate this situational study scheduled to from March 2012 until July 2012.
Praajak, a partner organization of SAATHII’s, is the official grant recipient ActionAid but the organization feels that the issues involved in this research are more applicable to SAATHII’s work, as SAATHII works to ensure sexual and reproductive health and rights.