Young people are not a homogeneous group. Certain groups of young people, such as married adolescents, young people living with HIV, and young key affected populations, may face distinct challenges. Furthermore, young people’s needs vary by age and context; they may live in urban or rural environments, be in school or out of school, or live on the streets or in areas affected by humanitarian crises.
Programmatic approaches to support young people’s healthy transition into adulthood must be tailored to meet the needs of specific populations, address young people’s multifaceted needs, and best build their assets. Successful programs will be appropriate for adolescents' varying ages and developmental stages; consider their capacities, strengths, and developmental needs; address and challenge harmful gender norms; and reinforce positive gender roles and behaviors that decrease risk. Programs must actively engage girls and women, boys and men, parents and in-laws, partners and spouses, extended family, religious leaders, educators, and the community to question the cultural roles and expectations that contribute to negative outcomes for young people's sexual and reproductive health.
This course provides an overview of promising approaches as well as case studies of effective programs that improve young people’s sexual and reproductive health. It is intended to complement the Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health course, which is a suggested prerequisite since it provides more information on the diverse needs of adolescents.
By the end of this course, you will be able to do the following:
- Explain the principles of effective youth programming
- Identify tailored programmatic initiatives and approaches to improve the sexual and reproductive health of young people
- Locate and use resources to support both the monitoring and evaluation of programs and the scale-up of successful approaches
The course authors would like to thank Ashley Jackson of Population Services International for the youth-focused social marketing case study and the following technical reviewers for their invaluable feedback:
- Peggy D'Adamo, USAID
- Cate Lane, USAID
- Shawn Malarcher, USAID