Youth First Bihar
The state of Bihar is one of India’s poorest and most densely populated. According to NITI Aayog's 2022 Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), nearly 52% of the state's population lives in poverty, making it the state with the highest MPI in India. Recent mental health surveys paint a grim picture, with increasingly high rates of depression among adolescents.
Youth are inheriting a world brimming with problems: inequality, climate change, gaps in education, violence – the list goes on. In Bihar, these challenges are amplified for youth as they navigate poverty, gender inequality, and barriers to education.
WorldBeing’s Youth First program tackles these issues ‘from the inside out’, providing an evidence-based approach to impact the health and education—and positive life trajectory—of Bihar’s adolescent youth.
WorldBeing India: Putting Youth First
Youth First provides an integrated, school-based, resilience and adolescent health training program to improve mental and physical wellbeing, and school engagement and performance; address gender inequities; and cultivate self-advocacy, social skills and relationships among Bihar’s youth.
Developed in alignment with India's national 2020 New Education Policy, trained school teachers facilitate weekly one-hour Youth First sessions throughout the academic year. Within the Youth First classroom, adolescents build a community of trust and new possibilities – foundational building blocks for adolescents to overcome challenges and thrive.
Building on Success: Statewide Scale-up
In accordance with a multi-year agreement with the Education Department, Government of Bihar, WorldBeing is partnering with the State Council for Education Research and Training (SCERT) to train nearly 1,000 government Master Trainers and 40,000 school teachers to lead the Youth First program in classrooms across the state. Beginning in April 2024, Youth First curricula will be incorporated into all state textbooks reaching 3.5 million students annually in 35,000 schools by 2026.
In a 2021-2022 retrospective assessment (now vs. then) Youth First student’s believed their skills increased by:
- 61% in ability to identify strengths
- 46% in ability to manage emotions in a healthy way
- 48% in ability to set goals