“How can more and more girls have access to secondary education in the state?”, was the concern raised by young tribal boys and girls from Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), Bhubaneswar, Odisha to the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, on the International Youth Day. On 5th August 2013, observed as the International Youth Day, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) facilitated live discussions of selected 25 tribal students of KISS with the UN Secretary-General and heads of UN entities. UNFPA is partnering with KISS for promoting life skills based sexual and reproductive health for adolescents in Odisha. The boys and girls also raised several issues relating to the education of girl child to the UN Secretary-General and a team of panelists consisting of heads of UN entities.

In the live discussion through a video conference about 125 young people from five schools – one each from Asia, Africa, Middle-east, Latin America and Europe – were connected to the UN Headquarters at New York. KISS was selected to represent Asia continent. Several issues and concerns around education, health, governance, livelihood, employment and science were raised by youth from around the world during the discussions held today.

Working with women and young people is one of the top five priorities of the UN in 2013. The UN aims to address the needs of the largest generation of young people the world has ever known by deepening the youth focus of existing programmes on employment, entrepreneurship, political inclusion, citizenship and protection of rights, and education, including on reproductive health.

Three students Bahelin Minz, Haraprasad Heproka and Nanda Kishore Patra of KISS discussed on life skill based sexuality education, Tribal girl child education in higher secondary level. Among others Dr. Deepa Prasad, State Programme Officer, UNFPA, Odisha; Dr. Prasant Ku. Routray, CEO, KISS and Dr. Sasmitarani Samanta, Registrar, KIIT University were also present on the occasion.