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Initiative to improve adolescent lives.

LAHORE -- Youth Activism and Development (YAAD) and Youth Associations of Punjab on Saturday launched 'Improving Adolescent Lives' project.

The primary focus of the project is to support a reduction in child marriage especially among adolescent girls. The project will be implemented in selected union councils of Rahim Yar Khan and Bahawalpur for three years.

It will enable adolescents to have access to and use of information as well as enhanced confidence and avenues to form and express their opinions. Parents and communities will also be enabled to understand adolescents' rights, support their realisation and access community based structures that strengthen the protective environment around them.

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child recently published a General Comment on Realizing the Rights of Adolescents. The project will provide avenues for adolescents and their communities to strengthen dialogue in decision-making processes on matters affecting their lives under the recommendations of committee.

UNICEF's Chief of Field Office in Punjab Douglas Higgins says adolescence is a unique defining stage of human development and physical growth, emerging abilities, strengths and skills. He says positive early childhood interventions and experiences facilitate optimal development as young children become adolescents. 'This is why UNICEF, globally and in Pakistan, is increasing its focus on adolescent programming. They are committed to support government and civil society organizations in Punjab to improve adolescent lives.'

Some 200 adolescents from Youth Associations in Rahim Yar Khan and Bahawalpur have participated in the event and committed to act as champions in promoting peer-to- peer dialogue and mentoring on key life skills and rights.

The different challenges of adolescents were highlighted through art, songs and theatre performances, while the significance of a protective environment where all boys and girls could grow and thrive, was emphasised.

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Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Date:Dec 31, 2017
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