One of the newest programmes at TYPF, The Access Project is working to conduct youth-led research audits of youth-friendly health service providers in three urban locations in North East Delhi, North West Delhi and Varanasi. The project involves training 15 youth auditors in each location to build their capacity to audit, monitor service providers within their cities, as well as advocate and influence key stakeholders for youth-friendly SRH services.
This project has evolved from a small-scale audit that was carried out with KYBKYR youth leaders in 2015. It was borne out of a common understanding that, after recognising young people’s sexual and reproductive rights through Comprehensive Sexuality Education, the next logical step is assessing youth access to reproductive and sexual health-services. In this context, in 2015, TYPF carried out a youth-led research audit of SRH services in Lucknow in partnership with Ye Ek Soch (YES) Foundation. The aim of this audit was to generate evidence to advocate for programmes, policies and services that affirm young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. The outcomes of the audit were published in our report, Seen Not Heard.
Youth researchers found that, due to a culture of shaming of young people’s sexualities, youth and adolescents, especially young women, are blocked from gaining access to Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) commodities and services like contraceptives, Right to Information, testing for Sexually Transmitted Infections/HIV and counselling, etc. Further, among young people, there is a lack of awareness of Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services and rights. Most young people have limited access to sources of information and service-providers - and in most situations, such information and services are available only to married youth.
In addition to this, young people’s voices are not included while designing, delivering and monitoring information and service provisions on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). Thus, their needs and realities are ignored. Consequently, young people - especially young women from marginalised and resource poor communities - are vulnerable to sexual violence and take poorly-informed decisions related to their health and well-being, such as availing of unsafe abortion services.
The ‘Seen Not Heard’ report was used by youth leaders to advocate with service providers and the media to showcase their findings, and made recommendations at the state level in Uttar Pradesh.
The current phase of work will amplify the work done in the 2015 Audit over three locations, and will carry out a more comprehensive audit of youth-friendly health services.