Bihar Education Project Council and CorStone to implement Youth First and Girls First across 1,100 Schools and KGBVs

Patna: The Bihar Education Project Council (BEPC), Government of Bihar, and CorStone announced a next phase partnership that will benefit over 100,000 schoolchildren in the state of Bihar, India. Together, the BEPC and CorStone will work to expand CorStone’s Youth First and Girls First resilience programs across government middle schools and Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs) in all nine divisions of the state over the next three years. Resilience refers to the ability to bounce back from adversity and thrive.

CorStone’s Youth First and Girls First programs center around a unique comprehensive resilience and adolescent health training curriculum delivered through an innovative teacher-facilitated peer group model. The program integrates evidence-based practices from the fields of emotional resilience, positive psychology, social-emotional learning, and conflict resolution with adolescent health training to improve mental and physical well-being, school engagement, self-advocacy, social skills and relationships among youth. First launched in India in 2009, the programs have been implemented in select districts in Bihar since 2013.

“The new Bihar is eager to progress. CorStone’s involvement in the education system here brings exciting prospects, and they have a very crucial role to play. We assure all possible support to CorStone for undertaking these resilience programmes, and also for scaling up this programme to include more schools when required. Considering the excellent work they have done in the past 6 years, the Government of Bihar is ready to support CorStone in their mission,” said Shri Krishna Nandan Prasad Verma, State Education Minister, Government of Bihar.

Shri Arvind Kumar Verma, IAS, State Project Director, BEPC said, “Bihar has a high incidence of child marriage, domestic violence, and other social issues which are widespread across the State. Such an intervention is crucial to address personal hygiene, impart sex education, and to empower adolescents towards decision making and breaking stereotypes. The Government of Bihar and BEPC extend its support to expand this resilience programme in a phased manner.”

Under the expanded partnership, CorStone and the BEPC will work to establish a system to institutionalise the programs within the government structure. A cadre of government “Master Trainers”, resource persons and school teachers will be trained over the next three years. The Master Trainers will serve as a key resource to train and support district level BEPC personnel and school teachers to implement the programs among middle school students. In addition to providing intensive training, CorStone will provide technical advising and evaluation support to the BEPC through 2022 to help ensure adoption and long-term growth and sustainability of the program across the state.

“Children who participate in resilience programs learn valuable skills that empower them to transform their own lives as well as those around them to become changemakers in their communities. Resilience training enables girls and boys to recognize their inner strengths, to apply them to their daily lives in school, and to make positive changes in a way that they never realized they could,” said Steve Leventhal, Executive Director, CorStone. “This is the first step to ensuring that every student in Bihar gets the skills and knowledge to thrive in and out of the classroom.” adds Gracy Andrew, Country Director, Corstone.