Adolescents & Youth
Pathfinder International was one of the first organizations to recognize and act on the unique sexual and reproductive health needs of young people. For nearly 40 years, Pathfinder has led projects focused on improving adolescents and youth access to sexual and reproductive health services in more than 30 countries, under a wide range of circumstances.
Adolescence offers a critical juncture for intervention as young people are open to new ideas and beginning to form lifelong attitudes, values, and behaviors. Our programs capitalize on the vitality, potential, and dynamism of young people, including having them as active partners in developing, implementing, and evaluating programs.
Pathfinder's goal is to ensure young people have access to quality services that are tailored to effectively meet the diverse needs of adolescents and youth across countries and cultural contexts. Young people reached through Pathfinder's projects may be married, working, in school, or caring for younger siblings due to parents lost from AIDS.
Youth participation and community involvement are central to Pathfinder's adolescent programming as young people are the best poised to advocate for their needs. Given the sensitivities around adolescent sexual and reproductive health, we work with policy makers, parents, teachers, and health workers to recognize and support the special needs of this important and often vulnerable group.
Our key approaches for working with young people include:
- Increasing the availability of youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services including contraceptive information and services, prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections and HIV, antenatal and postnatal care, as well as safe abortion services.
- Fostering positive community and cultural norms, such as delaying the age of marriage and childbearing, as well as individual behavior change that lead to gender equality and improved sexual and reproductive health.
- Building local capacity and national ownership to ensure sustainable sexual and reproductive health policies and programs that reach large numbers of young people.Advocating for increased resources and supportive policies for adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health.
- Reaching diverse groups of young people with tailored interventions. This includes young people living with HIV, married adolescents, or adolescent girls.
Currently, Pathfinder has a range of projects dedicated to the needs of adolescents and youth around the world.
The Project aimed to increase the provision of ASRH services that could effectively attract young people, meet their needs comfortably and responsively and retain young clients for continuing care in eight facilities in four districts in the Volta Region.
This project sought to improve, scale up, and institutionalize HIV and AIDS prevention and youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services. Institutional capacity building was a key component of the project.
Pathfinder aims is to evaluate the strategies of the Geracao BIZ project, as well as transform the knowledge, attitudes and practices of primary school, high school, secondary education and technical education students in sexual reproductive health.
It was a matter of life and death for Jenelia, who lives in a remote mountain village in Haiti, the most dangerous place to give birth in the Western Hemisphere. This issue of Pathways explores how mobile technology is changing the way community health workers are delivering health services to women like Jenelia.
The purpose of the Working Paper Series is to disseminate work in progress by Pathfinder International staff on critical issues of population, reproductive health, and development.
A new approach to conservation in the basin is the Health of People and Environment in the Lake Victoria Basin project. It seeks to reduce threats to biodiversity conservation and ecosystem degradation while simultaneously increasing access to family planning and reproductive health services.
m4Youth: Providing Sexual and Reproductive Health Information to University Students and Peer Educators
Pathfinder is using m4youth, a free SMS service, to impact students’ knowledge of sexual and reproductive health, thereby increasing their utilization of services.
In Kenya, health clinics are using text messages to combat empty shelves. As part of one project, nurses send inventory reports via text to a central data management centre and the contraceptives are sent out immediately. Other innovations included the mCenas! project in Mozambique, which educates young people about contraception via text, and a television and online series in India that highlights family planning through drama programmes.
What’s Youth Got to Do With It? Investing in Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health a Development Bargain
Rita Badiani, Mozambique country representative for Pathfinder International, pointed out that in Pathfinder’s Geração Biz program, government data made it difficult to target the youth they wanted to reach. “The health information system actually made adolescents and youth invisible due to the lack of disaggregation for this age group in the system,” she said.
“Globally, this marginalized population of young women has unique needs and rights that need to be addressed and acknowledged,” said Callie Simon, a technical advisor for adolescent sexual and reproductive health with Pathfinder International. “Married adolescent girls have so little power and decision-making over their bodies, over their choices, [and] over their lives."