Durex Led The Birds And Bees Talk Programme: An Initiative To Create Awareness And Empower The Youth To Make Informed Decisions!

The Birds and Bees Talk’ (TBBT) programme, comprehensively addresses growing up and life skills for youth between 10 to 19 years.

India, home to many historical pieces of literature that covers human sexual behaviour, is also a country that refrains from talking openly about sexual health and wellbeing. With no Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE), the younger generation becomes trapped within a spiral of confusion, curiosity and misinformation, making it extremely challenging for the younger generation to navigate puberty and adolescence. It is pivotal to speak up about and create awareness around sexual health issues to raise a responsible younger generation that can make informed choices.

Reckitt, the global leading consumer health and hygiene company with Durex India's 'The Birds and Bees Talk' (TBBT) programme, comprehensively addresses growing up and life skills for youth between 10 to 19 years. The programme aims to reach 4 million children in three years in six states of North-Eastern India. Through a two-level interactive, animated curriculum, the programme promotes the core principles of inclusion, awareness, consent, protection and equity. It focuses on promoting healthy behaviours by sharing information easily and creatively to empower the youth to make informed decisions. A Ch Marak, Education Secretary, School Education Department, Government of Meghalaya, stated that programs like TBBT could teach children about their growth and development, both physically and mentally.

"TBBT is a unique curriculum to address the adolescents' mental health and sexual health. Our vision is to work towards transforming the lives of youth and preparing them for a better and brighter tomorrow," said Shanavas C. (IAS), Principal Director, School Education Department, Nagaland. Through TBBT, Reckitt has dedicated itself to working towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3,4,5 and 17 to achieve the UN vision of 2030, 'Leave no one behind.' In partnership with Plan India with the support of the state governments of Manipur, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh. Dr Lalzirmawia Chhangte (IAS), Secretary, School Education Department, Government of Mizoram, stated, "Preparing ourselves for future generations is the key for Sustainable Tomorrow, and The Birds And Bees Talk project ensures that information are taken towards a future which is happier and healthier."

"Children need productive knowledge and constructive ideas to spend their free time productively. If they are not guided, their minds venture into drugs, etc.," said GP Upadhyaya, Additional Chief Secretary Department of Education Sikkim. "TBBT is a step in this direction to ensure that they understand the issue of teenage sexuality, which they are going to face sooner or later," he added.

"Programmes such as TBBT are essential so that people can have open conversations. I teach in an orphanage, and I believe that young students need to have proper guidance and knowledge before reaching puberty, enabling them to make informed decisions. It is also vital for us to explain the importance of sex education in school to parents," said Kekuoneinuo Nyekha, Teacher, GMS Orphanage Seithogie, Kohima Nagaland. The programme has positively impacted 40,024 students, 2,280 teachers, 1,296 schools and 30,889 parents.

Over a year, the programme's reach has increased by 7.88 thousand, almost 87 per cent. According to the TBBT Endline study, the positive sentiments are ahead by over 50 per cent of baseline emotions, and New Delhi and Guwahati became the top sources of conversations about the programme. Reckitt is building and launching its digital ecosystem in the programme's second year to ensure that the COVID pandemic does not hinder learning and development.

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To mark its second-year in 2021 and to celebrate Pride Month, the programme launched its catchy theme song- 'Let's talk about it.' Pride month allowed the programme to promote inclusivity and awareness about the LGBTQIA community. It also helped youth overcome the challenges such as lack of information, stigma and discrimination that suppress them from gaining the correct information. The TBBT theme song helped set a strong foundation for the initiative, sharing the crucial message of acquiring the proper knowledge of power, protection and pleasure to ensure healthy development and wellbeing. The song strongly promoted inclusivity and encouraged adolescents to make the right choice.

"We believe in the advocacy of a more participatory approach, where information and education can lead to positive changes, and build inclusive, healthier, and safer societies. Not just in terms of social and economic equality, but in lieu of sexual emancipation among multiple genders. Women, men and binaries have to be able to express their desires and needs. No one should be forced to participate in sexual activities without their consent. The society has to accept and embrace other genders with different and multiple identities and sexual preferences," said Ravi Bhatnagar, Director, External Affairs and Partnerships, South Asia, Reckitt.

In a society bound by reservations about freewheeling conversations around some subjects, it becomes difficult to create awareness to help people make informed choices. The Durex Birds and Bees Talk programme is moving the needle on conversations and leaving a positive impact on North-Eastern India. The Logical Indian applauds Reckitt's efforts to create an environment where the youth learns and grows to make responsible and informed decisions.

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