Ashley Judd, the global goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and popular Hollywood actor, is in India. Ashley Judd is a strong promoter of rights of girls and women. She has been travelling around the world to advocate against gender-based violence and discrimination, so that young people can enter their adulthood safely. As the UNFPA goodwill ambassador, Ashley will be on a four-day visit to Odisha from 7th Feb 2017 to 10th Feb 2017 where UNFPA is implementing several programmes aimed at empowering young people, and promoting sexual and reproductive health of women and girls.
UNFPA strongly advocates for investments in the rights and well-being of adolescents and youth, particularly the most marginalized, so that India can tap its huge demographic dividend in order to facilitate inclusive and a sustainable growth. UNFPA, in India, also works towards expanding the availability and use of information and services, with a focus on reproductive health and in ending the practice of gender-biased sex selection and promoting gender equity and equality.
UNFPA is implementing the life skills education programme for adolescents in tribal residential schools across the state of Odisha. As girls in tribal communities are especially vulnerable, due to high incidence of school dropout, child marriage and teenage pregnancy, the life skills-based programmes supported by UNFPA in this state are specially designed to empower young girls and boys, and help them make informed and appropriate choices in their lives.
During her stay in Odisha, Ashley Judd will be exposed to the rich culture and lifestyle of tribal communities, including their varied art and handicrafts. Ashley will receive the Humanitarian award at the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences for her passionate advocacy and commitment towards working against sexual exploitation of girls and women. The award is given annually to personalities with exceptionally high contribution to the society in social and economic fields. Special sessions will also be organised with tribal adolescent girls and boys for Ashley to interact and understand their challenges and aspirations.
UNFPA India works with the government and partners to advocate for adolescents and youth development and investments, including education, livelihood skills and health, including sexual and reproductive health.