What is the Adolescent Boys Program?
Hand-in-hand with gender inequality and male underachievement is lack of health knowledge. This region sees child death from malnutrition and diarrhea as well as HIV and other STDs amongst adults at alarming rates. Health knowledge in rural villages is sparse amongst both men and women. CRHP has already instituted an array of programs in order to combat gender inequality in rural Maharashtra. The Adolescent Girls Program (AGP) and the Women’s Self-Help Groups (WSHGs) have empowered girls and women across the region and given them skills to advocate for gender equity and change norms in their villages. Now, via the Adolescent Boys Program (ABP), action is being taken with men and boys as well.
The Adolescent Boys Program is for boys aged 12-18 of all castes, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. The ABP was designed to contend with gender inequality, male underachievement, and lack of health awareness. Boys meet once a week on the CRHP campus with social workers and Farmers’ Club members to develop effective leadership skills, debunk stereotypes about women, and combat gender-based violence by learning about the ramifications of physical, sexual, and emotional violence. Additionally, the ABP teachers impresses upon the boys the gravity of alcoholism and how alcohol affects the human constitution, provide health education with respect to nutrition, reproductive health, and STIs, and finally, encourage fiscal responsibility via basic accounting lessons as well as delineating between needs and wants.
What population does Adolescent Boys Program serve?
While the Adolescent Boys Program works directly with boys aged 12-18, the program benefits all individuals within the family, community, and village. The low status of women in Indian society is a serious problem with deep repercussions on societal wellbeing. In Maharashtra, India, 35 percent of rural married women report having experienced spousal violence. Half of Maharashtran men believe that a husband is justified in beating his wife. Bride burning, the immolation of women for failure to produce a boy child or to pay sufficient dowry, is another violent local practice rooted in gender inequity. Less than 40 percent of currently married, rural women in Maharashtra participate in household decisions. Furthermore, prevailing attitudes regarding the status of women in rural India are evidenced by early marriage and a low sex ratio. To compound the issue, the lack of value placed on bettering one’s society, as well as a lack of good role models, is severely stunting the development of boys in rural Indian villages, producing an epidemic of male underachievement. The resulting low collective self-esteem has led to rampant alcoholism, along with other addictions, amongst rural males.
What are the goals of the Adolescent Boys Program?
- Change social norms and practices with the primary recognition that females are equal to males
- Make boys empowered agents of change, confident that they can contribute positively to their communities’ development.
- Equip boys to better handle leadership, peer pressure, and violence.
- Decrease gender-based violence
- Create healthier, more equitable villages
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