Community Mobilization and the Reproductive Health Needs of Married Adolescents in South Asia
Sanyukta Mathur, International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)
Rohini P. Pande, International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)
Alka Barua, Foundation for Research in Health Systems (FRHS)
Manik Ram Mahajan, New ERA, Ltd.
Young women in South Asia enter marriage early and without adequate access to sexual and reproductive health information and services. Social norms around girls’ access to information, mobility, and decision-making power, severely limit their access to resources with which to address their reproductive health needs. Few efforts that attempt to address the social and normative barriers related to the reproductive health of young women have been well-evaluated or systematically documented. This paper presents evidence from intervention research in India and Nepal on the positive effects of community mobilization in improving reproductive health awareness and use of maternal care services for young, married women. We present analyzes illustrating the opportunities and challenges of comprehensive community mobilization efforts in changing the systemic and contextual barriers to good reproductive health for young married women when compared with more traditional reproductive health program approaches.