Accountability and Collective Action in Urban India: How are Socially Marginalized Adolescent Girls and Young Women organized to Negotiate Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR)?

Project Details

Layman's description

Addressing inequities in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) is of critical importance in the era of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that calls for “leaving no one behind”. In India, where significant strides have been made in improvement of some SRHR indicators, the gains have not accrued equally across social and demographic groups, and geographies. Indicators show vast differences across and between cities in Indian states and a rural-urban divide, but provide little insight into the pathways by which these differences, and potentially inequities, were produced. Furthermore, while collective action and accountability in health (such as community monitoring of services, scorecards) are seen as effective interventions to improve SRHR, little attention has been paid to understanding the complex mechanisms by which these interventions act, and the ways in which these are influenced by the local context especially in the case of adolescents and young people from urban, marginalized communities.

In this study, using the case of adolescent girls and young women from a marginalized community in an urban poor settlement in India, we will explore 1) how social, political and economic marginalization impacts the sexual and reproductive health rights and well-being of adolescent girls and young women in a socially marginalized community in urban India and 2) how and in what conditions a grassroots organization empowers girls and young women in this community for collective action to promote accountability for sexual and reproductive health rights. To do this, we will use qualitative methods and a realist approach to examine in-depth the role of a community-based organization in strengthening the demand for SRH rights in a constrained context, and uncover how the organization’s collective action and social accountability interventions, through the process of empowerment and improvement of state-society relationships can bring about positive changes in these.

The study will contribute not only to the formulation of policy recommendations applicable at the level of urban neighbourhoods, in India, but also refine theories on how collective action and social accountability interventions with adolescents and young people work, for whom and in what conditions.
Effective start/end date1/01/22 → …

IWETO expertise domain

  • B680-public-health


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