Adolescents & Youth

In 2013, young people made nearly 700,000 visits for youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services through Pathfinder-supported programs.

In Bihar, one of India’s least developed, most populous states, a peer educator discusses contraception with a group of captivated young men.

In Ethiopia, Pathfinder trains providers to measure the reproductive health services young people are using, so they can learn from and improve their work.

Pathfinder develops programs that address adolescent girls unique vulnerabilities, such as early marriage and gender-based violence, which mainstream youth programs often overlook.

Pathfinder trains young people to advocate on their own behalf and we use our relationships with government and civil society partners to create entry points for these powerful new leaders.

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.

Related Projects

Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health in Ghana

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.

African Youth Alliance

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.

Certification Strategies for the School-Based Program Geracao Biz

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.


Related Publications

August 2014

Research and Evaluation Working Paper Series

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.

July 2014

HoPe LVB Beach Management

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.

July 2014

mCenas! Reaching Youth with Information and Stories about Sexual Health

mCenas! - a comprehensive text message-based program that targeted youth aged 15-24 - has increased knowledge about contraceptive methods and dispel common myths around contraceptive methods.

July 2014

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.


Related News

Underage: Addressing Reproductive Health and HIV Needs in Married Adolescent Girls

“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."

Conference focuses on holistic adolescent and youth development in Ethiopia

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Building on of the momentum of regional consultations held in May and June 2014 throughout all 11 regions of Ethiopia, Pathfinder will host a national conference in September 2014 focused on a multisectoral response for adolescent and youth development.

Pakistan: Where Mothers Are Also Children

Dr. Tauseef Ahmed, Pakistan country director of Pathfinder International, a non-profit organisation working to improve adolescent and youth access to sexual and reproductive health services in more than 30 countries, says that early pregnancy is not uncommon among teenage brides. In fact, having a baby is a way of proving one’s fertility, and the values of adolescent pregnancy are “protected by women and girls themselves,” he told IPS.

Launching a New National Strategy for Preventing Child Marriage in Egypt

Group of stakeholders gather at launch
On June 16, with funding from the Ford Foundation, Pathfinder International in Egypt, in conjunction with the National Population Council, launched a new national strategy for preventing child marriage.
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