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Should interventions address the complexity of the adolescent life course? Lessons from a program experience in India

Sanyukta Mathur, Columbia University
Sreela DasGupta, International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)
Sushmita Mukherjee, International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)
Anjala Kanesthasan, International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)

This paper bridges academic understanding on the complexity of adolescent life course transitions with the practical lessons learned from implementation of field based programs to answer the question: should intervention programs be taking on the broad mandate of addressing the full range of life course transitions during adolescence, including education, employment, marriage, and childbearing? We use evaluation data from an integrated youth program in India from 2003-2008 to answer this question and map direction for researchers and policymakers. Our results show that even in challenging settings and in a short time, integrated programs can be implemented and result in behavioral change on marriage and childbearing. The results were less conclusive on empowerment and livelihood outcomes. Integrated programs are challenging to implement in environments with limited economic options, health infrastructure and NGO capacity and more creative and selective strategies may be required to implement ambitious multisectoral programs in developing country settings.

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Presented in Session 42: Adolescent life courses in developing countries