This four year programme is empowering adolescents and young people to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health and is placing young people’s sexual rights on the political agenda in fourteen countries. The objectives of the Choices programme are to increase the number of young people with access to an essential package of youth-friendly services, to increase access to comprehensive, gender-sensitive, rights-based sexuality education and to influence policy change that prioritizes the sexual and reproductive health needs of young people within national health systems. The Choices programme is being implemented at three locations (Chakwal, Mardan and Muzaffarabad) to increase young people’s access to a comprehensive package of youth-friendly services, as well as a standardized age-specific, comprehensive, gender-sensitive, rights-based sexuality education. The project has a specific focus on young married girls. To date, the project has made a huge impact on the lives of young people by not only increasing access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services and comprehensive health and rights education but by steadily creating an enabling environment by shifting attitudes and behaviors in different social, cultural and political contexts through strategic interventions.
We have formulated a Taskforce on comprehensive health and rights education with key organizations working on youth SRHR in the country and developed a framework and a training manual (based on the framework) for teachers and gender-segregated handbooks for students in Urdu and English. These are piloting four schools and using them to provide CSE to out of school youth. We also conducted quarterly sensitization sessions on youth SRHR and gender equity with parents and in-laws in project sites. We have formed an Alliance of key partner organizations, government officials from different ministries and their national youth network members to advocate for this education at national and provincial level. At provincial level we got a letter of support from governments in the provinces of AJK and Mardan to provide health and rights awareness and education sessions in schools.