This one-year project aimed to empower adolescents, particularly girls, enabling them to think critically, by equipping them with the appropriate knowledge and skills to address challenges they face in their every-day lives.
Aahung implemented this project with the support of UNICEF's Partners- Pakistan Fisher Folk Forum, Strengthening Participatory Organization, and Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research across 7 Union Councils in 3 towns. For the purpose of this project, Aahung developed a tailor-made version of its LSBE curriculum with a focus on gender, conflict resolution, prevention of violence and health and hygiene. Teachers working in Alternative Learning Pathways (ALPs), community schools and government schools were trained to this effect.
Aahung initiated the project by conducting sensitization sessions with teachers and parents to brief them about the project objectives and attained their consent to implement LSBE in schools and communities. Aahung subsequently held capacity building sessions with teachers who demonstrated a significant increase in levels of knowledge on puberty, hygiene, conflict and violence, gender discrimination and communication skills and decision-making. Teachers also highlighted the importance of giving such information to adolescents and youth. These are essential prerequisites that influence how effectively teachers can roll out the content. Majority of the teachers replicating LSBE had integrated it into their timetables and thereby institutionalized it in their schools during the intervention. Moreover, key LSBE messages relating to gender equality and peace were also delivered to over 2,000 community members through ten theatre performances in an entertaining manner. Feedback received revealed they were able to easily relate to and critically reflect on the issues. As all key stakeholders were engaged with during the project intervention, these strategies enabled Aahung to work towards creating an enabling environment for the implementation of LSBE.
The effectiveness of this pilot initiative, over such a short tenure, demonstrates the capacity that this intervention has to be taken forward, enhanced, and expanded further in terms of outreach, particularly with ALP's. This was compounded by the low cost of LSBE replication. Aahung found that where ownership is taken by key stakeholders (UNICEF, SCR Partners, Teachers), there is potential for institutionalization of LSBE within schools, which subsequently leads to the sustainability of life skills education.