Bhubaneswar youth discuss SRHR, menstrual health, domestic violence and more in an engaging youth festival

In Odisha, a youth festival encourages girls to talk about SRHR, adolescent health, and education


Today in Bhubaneswar, USAID joined representatives from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the National Health Mission and the Odisha State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights to celebrate International Day of the Girl at a local youth festival, Baatein Unlocked. The festival was centered around the theme of International Day of the Girl 2022 “Our Time is Now: Our Rights, Our Future,” and brought together more than 200 young people, government representatives, development partners, and community-led organizations at the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) to celebrate and recognize the power of youth and the importance of creating enabling environments for young people, particularly girls.

Baatein Unlocked is a youth-led movement supported by the U.S. government, through USAID, to enable young people to realize their full potential by making informed and responsible decisions for their health and well-being. Implemented by Purpose, a social impact agency, the movement engaged with youth from diverse communities, sexual orientations, and interest areas, reaching approximately 7 million young people through mixed-media campaigns in Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Assam, and Jharkhand. In Odisha, the campaign worked with 50 youth leaders from five tribal districts to develop their leadership skills and improve their understanding of issues that impact their health. The leaders have gone on to form their own Baatein Unlocked youth groups, where they can initiate conversations with their peers in their communities.

Baatein Unlocked Youth Festival featured conversations around topics that matter to youth populations, including early and forced marriage, access to higher education, issues related to their health, domestic violence, migration-related vulnerabilities, and climate change. The event deployed creative ways to share messages, such as engaging shadow puppeteer and artist TapuMohrana to use art and design to tackle sensitive issues related to gender and sexual and reproductive health.   Over a two-day workshop, students from KISS worked with Tapu to build puppets and create stories, giving voice to their experiences and perspectives on SRHR. A youth representative from KISS shared, “The workshop was a fun learning opportunity for us and encouraged us to speak more openly and creatively about what SRHR means for us. Working together with the artist and other young people also helped us build greater empathy for my fellow young people and understand the challenges that they are facing”.


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