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18 young men impart "life skills" to teens

Eighteen young men from rural Pune have found ways of trying to understand issues related to sexuality and reproductive health among other things, better.

india Updated: Aug 28, 2008 13:39 IST

Amidst debates over imparting 'life skills' to teenagers and its supposed effect of 'erosion of Indian culture', eighteen young men from rural Pune have found ways of trying to understand issues related to sexuality and reproductive health among other things, better.

In the process, they have also tried to cultivate a more gender-sensitive approach to looking at the society.

'Life skills' is the more acceptable name for sex education.

These college-going students were part of the 'Yuva Maitri', a two-year project aimed at creating resource persons who in turn would communicate ideas related to less-talked issues like sexuality and gender.

"There is a lack of safe platforms to talk about problems that give rise to violent behaviour including those relating to issues of gender and sexuality," 'Yuva Maitri' project implementor Harish Sadani said.

"Initially, I was asked by a number of boys if I was going to teach them how to have sex," said Ganesh Phule, one of the 18, on when he tried to talk to youngsters his age about these issues.

In the first year of the project, individuals were made to attend a number of programmes in order to familiarise and sensitise them to gender-related issues such as gender-based violence, concept of masculinity, sexual health and so on.

In the second year, these 'communicators' were to reach out to other youth like themselves using a number of tools such as poster exhibitions, discussions, film screenings and other such methods.