In 2015,UNICEF and IKEA Foundation launched the "Improving Adolescents' Lives in South Asia" program, with interventions in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The overall aim of the program implementation is to contribute to developing a model for scale-up in South Asia.
In India, the program operates in four states: In Andhra Pradesh (southeast India), the neighboring states of West Bengal and Jharkhand (east India) and in Assam (northeast India). As part of the program, context-specific pilot activities were launched in each state, with the goal of improving adolescents' lives by impacting the adolescents, parents and communities as a whole. The interventions include information dissemination through media outlets such as radios, print media, and television, as well as capacity building activities geared toward adolescents, their parents, and other members of the community. Therefore, outputs and outcomes are defined around three pillars: Pillar I on adolescents, Pillar II on stakeholders (parents and communities) and Pillar III on service providers. Therefore, the strategies of the program aim at enabling adolescents to protect themselves and enhancing supportive community and law enforcement structures through awareness raising, capacity building and mobilization of all stakeholders. Through these various channels, the interventions aim to shape attitudes towards marriage, gender roles, education, and adolescent empowerment, to thereby have an impact in reducing child marriage, increasing secondary education enrollment and decreasing adolescent pregnancy. This is the "Basic Package" that was provided across all states.
The evaluation design followed a two-stage randomization, where in the first stage a Basic Package including the aforementioned activities was applied, while the second-stage randomization included additional activities under the "Plus Package". The Plus Package activities were not uniformly implemented throughout the assigned program areas, but were rather randomly assigned to receive a package of interventions.
While the Basic Package was designed to include outreach, awareness raising, and capacity building activities across the three pillars and adolescent girls' groups, the Plus Package activities additionally comprised adolescent boys' groups, parents' groups, or a combination of both. Therefore, villages that received these additional efforts may experience greater improvements in the outcomes of interest through an increased engagement of additional target groups, as more comprehensive awareness and capacity building is expected to be linked with greater effectiveness.