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Life Skills Programme, Maharashtra
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Subject Area="Behavioural Change Communication." Objective="Adolescent health."
Details for Reform Option "Life Skills Programme, Maharashtra"

Background: A study by the Institute of Health Management (IHMP) in Pachod into the reproductive health of women living in the Paithan block of the Marathwada region of Maharashtra showed that: (i) The median average age of girls at marriage was 14.5 years. (ii) The average age at first conception was 16 years. (iii) 90% of married adolescents conceive before the age of 19. (iv) 60% of girls who abort develop severe complications. (v) 60% of girls in the adolescent age group are anaemic. Action: To improve the social status of these girls and reduce their mortality and morbidity levels, IHMP developed a one-year course on life skills. This course was developed after several meetings and workshops with the adolescents and their parents. The course consists of 225 one-hour sessions and 36 hours devoted to a community project. There are five sections: (i) Social issues and institutions. (ii) Local government bodies. (iii) Life skills. (iv) Child health and nutrition. (v) Health. The community project deals with Non-Formal Education (NFE) and nutrition education for mothers. Each literate girl is expected to adopt a few illiterate girls and make them literate through NFE. This course is taught 5 times a week over 10-12 months. Three sessions a week focus on skills on how to improve social and health status. One day a week is devoted to art and craft and one day is kept for the community project. The classes are conducted by a woman from the community and at a convenient time and place. There is also a monthly visit and discussion with parents. Results: The impact of the programme is evaluated once every three months. The results over the last three years have shown a significant increase in the median age of girls at marriage from 14 to 17 years. The self-confidence of the girls noticeably increased due to new communication and leadership skills.

Cost Estimated Cost: Total cost of conducting the programme in a year would be INR 1,400,000 . For break-up and unit costs, check the word document link below.
Place Seventy-two villages, 100 sites in Paithan Taluka, District Aurangabad, Maharashtra with Pachod as the base. Started with preparatory phase in 1997. The actual intervention started in 1999.
Time Frame Two years - one for needs assessment and another for preparatory phase and pre-testing.

Empowerment: Improvement in the social status of girls. Education: Decrease in the health problems of adolescent girls and married women.


Possible opposition: From parents and the elderly, especially towards the module on sexuality, sexual health and reproductive health. In this case, this was dealt with by ensuring that this module was taught only to girls above the age of 14. Letters were sent to every parent for their consent.


Participatory need assessment with adolescent girls. Workshops with parents for needs assessment and to develop curriculum. Workshops with experts to plan training objectives, content, methods and materials. Developing material and pretesting. Consensus building (with the parents and community). Identification and selection of community based workers and their training. Establishing village health committees to monitor and solve problems. Developing instruments for monitoring and evaluation.

Who needs to be consulted

Local population especially, adolescents and their parents; Body imparting technical assistance (in this case IHMP)



Fair. Parents have now started paying a fee and the village contributes towards the teacher’s costs.

Chances of Replication

The state government has decided to go ahead with a larger scale replication. The Government of Maharashtra has adapted the content of the manuals and is implementing this programme through Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) workers. UNFPA has adapted the manuals for use by NGOs and corporation workers in the districts and municipal corporation areas where they are providing support.




Submitted By

Dr Christopher Potter, Former Team Leader, European Commission Technical Assistance, New Delhi. April 2003.

Status Active
Reference Files
B2- Female Empowerment for RH - Life Skills_FINAL.ppt Powerpoint presentation “Impact of Life Skills Education on Age at Marriage of Adolescent Girls” made at the 31st Annual Global Health Council Conference: June 1 - 4, 2004
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