Improving Health and Educational Outcomes for Indian Women and Youth with CorStone
Problem Statement: Married and pregnant before the age of 18 — it’s a reality for over half of women in impoverished Bihar, India. Early marriage sets a trajectory for women that limits prospects for life. These marginalized youth need resilience to self-advocate for their right to stay in school and delay marriage. But global development programs rarely focus on resilience as a key lever for improving health and educational outcomes.
CorStone Solution: CorStone delivers personal resilience programs to improve well-being for youth, focusing on adolescent girls as critical change-agents in their communities. Since 2009, CorStone’s flagship programs, Girls First and Youth First, have provided resilience-based training to over 100,000 marginalized youth across India and Kenya.
In Bihar, CorStone partners with the Ministry of Education to deliver training in residential schools (KGBVs) serving at-risk girls. Typical Girls First attendees are 12-16 year old girls living in rural poverty, the first generation to attend school, at high risk for trafficking, and with few employment prospects beyond menial or household labor. Most will marry between the ages of 14-16.
Research shows CorStone’s resilience training works. Outcomes include significant improvements in emotional resilience (33%), health knowledge (99%), clean water behaviors (96%) and gender attitudes (18%), as well as impacts on early marriage, school engagement, and classroom behaviors.
Team4Tech CorStone Impact Goals: Through traditional in-person approaches, CorStone has trained approximately 30,000 girls across 268 KGBV schools since 2015. The current in-person model limits its ability to scale to millions of youth-in-need. With Team4Tech’s support CorStone seeks to create a digital application to reach more students with their Girls First program. Eventually, the tool will enable CorStone to transfer the program to local leaders.
With this new approach, over the next 5 years CorStone aims to reach 50,000 Girls First participants across all KGBVs in Bihar and expand this approach to Youth First programs which will scale to reach 2.6 million middle school students throughout India. Additionally, a technology-enhanced approach will enable CorStone increased coverage in countries such as Rwanda and Kenya, where it currently operates.