KISS aims to address the low awareness about WASH issues among its tribal and indigenous students through its Life Skills Education (LSE) based Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health (ARSH) program. The program has three primary aspects. The first is training students enrolled in KISS’s residential school program. Students from class seven to nine are trained on ARSH issues, including personal hygiene and menstrual health as part of their curriculum. The parents of these students are also given information on sanitation in annual parent-teacher meetings. KISS provides students both group and individual counseling on health issues along with health check-ups with a gynecologist who is available 24 hours a day. KISS students also make low cost sanitary napkins with the help of the sanitary napkin machine installed along with a huge disposal unit on campus.
The second aspect is reaching students in residential government schools through teacher training. Teachers from 500 residential government schools are trained to deliver sessions on ARSH. These schools include 318 residential high schools under the Scheduled Class and Scheduled Tribe Development Department and 182 Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs) which are all-girls residential schools aimed at school drop-outs. KISS acts as a resource center, providing teachers with technical training and support for delivery of sessions in schools and equipping the school libraries with resource materials. The parents of children and the communities are engaged through the School Management Committees and Parent Teacher Associations to increase their awareness on hygiene.
A third aspect to KISS’s work are awareness drives at colleges and in communities. Students in KISS’s college, aged 18-21, are trained as peer educators to educate fellow college students and engage their communities during the summer holiday. Peer educators, trained teachers and volunteers hold regular meetings and awareness camps on personal health and hygiene using puppet shows, street plays and other workshops. They campaign against open defecation, increase the communities’ awareness on government schemes such as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and advocate for the construction of toilets.
Finally, in 2015 KISS began promoting research for its ARSH program for generation of evidence and advocacy. Fifteen post-graduate social science students, under the guidance of KISS faculty are researching topics such as reproductive and sexual health of rural/urban, married/unmarried adolescents, nutrition, substance misuse, early marriage, and the impact of the LSE/ARSH intervention on adolescents.
Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS)
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Partners: United Nations Population Fund & Government of Odisha