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In India, sexual activity among girls and young women typically takes place within marriage. Nationally, as many as 30 percent of adolescent girls aged 15–19 are married, presumably sexually active, and under pressure to bear a first child early in the marriage. While sexual activity for the majority of adolescent Indian girls occurs within the socially sanctioned institution of marriage, marital sex is not inherently safe, voluntary, or pleasurable. Promoting Healthy, Safe, and Productive Transitions to Adulthood Brief No. 8 describes the Population Council’s efforts to support married adolescent girls. The Council, in partnership with the Child in Need Institute and Deepak Charitable Trust, implemented a comprehensive intervention called the First-time Parents Project. The project was based on the hypothesis that the periods following marriage and surrounding the first birth offer a unique opportunity to improve the prospects of young mothers and foster more equitable relations with their husbands. The Council and partners designed a study to assess the effects of the intervention on young women’s reproductive health knowledge and practices, partner communication and support, social networks, and personal agency.






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