APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
Depending on participants' needs, Ipas-supported sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) trainings for young people include information on human, sexual, and reproductive rights, gender or sex, reproductive anatomy, menstruation and pregnancy, contraception, HIV/STIs, and safe abortion. In addition, they have a practical skills component, which may focus on networking, advocacy and message creation, or community outreach using interpersonal communication strategies such as street drama, peer counseling and education, or giving presentations. Part of the training focuses on how to establish, manage, and evaluate youth-adult partnerships and provides practical tips for adults on how to engage young people in meaningful ways. During the training, participants get to explore common as well as more culturally-specific barriers to youth participation and how to overcome them.
Ipas will employ a participatory evaluation approach of youth involvement and youth-led community and policy activities. As systemic attitude and behavior change is difficult to measure over a short period of time, we will use a number of quantitative and qualitative process measures as proxies.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
Implementation will begin in October 2011 as part of Ipas's new strategic plan.
Year 1: Strengthen youth work in Malawi, including capacity building with the existing Youth Task Force and other youth groups. In Malawi and Zambia, provide small grants and technical assistance (TA) for youth-led community activities. Support south-to-south networking between youth groups in the two countries.
Year 2: Scale-up youth work in Zambia and Malawi, conducting refresher training for youth network members, promoting youth-led community outreach, providing small grants and technical assistance, and supporting youth access to safe services. Establish regional Youth Network among country-based networks in Zambia and Malawi.
Year 3: In Kenya, map youth groups working on youth sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and conduct capacity building for select groups, co-facilitated by Ipas and previously trained youth from Zambia and Malawi. Continue scale-up activities of regional Youth Network, including participation by Kenyan youth. Conduct refresher training for youth network members. Provide small grants and TA for youth-led community and policy activities in all three countries. Support young leaders from all three countries to participate in regional and international conferences and events, particularly related to MDG5.
By the end of the commitment, Ipas expects 1) increased knowledge, skills, and access to services for young women related to SRHR, including contraception and safe abortion, in the intervention communities; 2) strengthened youth leadership on SRHR issues, including unsafe abortion, in intervention countries and the region; 3) empowered youth champions who are able to sustain the links between local needs and larger policy issues; and 4) enhanced youth participation and advocacy in regional and international SRHR events and forums, particularly related to MDG5.
Among other activities, two capacity building events will be conducted with young people (one in Malawi, one in Kenya), and two refresher trainings for youth networks (one in Zambia, one in Malawi). In these events, 120 young people will be trained. Through Ipas-supported youth-led events, another 5,400 young people will be reached over three years.
Many young women in the developing world live their lives against a backdrop of poverty, sexual violence, early forced marriage, gender discrimination, the HIV pandemic, and a lack of access to sexual and reproductive health services. This lack of access to life-saving and life-enhancing information and care is also created by numerous barriers including stigma and negative attitudes, fear of negative repercussions, lack of access to comprehensive sexuality education, limited financial resources, costs of care and transportation, and concerns over privacy and confidentiality. For adolescent girls aged 15 - 19, the risk of death due to complications during pregnancy and delivery is twice as high as for women older than 19. Where induced abortion is highly restricted, adolescents have the highest risks of suffering serious complications from unsafe abortions (Mirsky, 2001). In Sub-Saharan Africa, over 60 percent of unsafe abortions are among adolescents and young women aged 10 to 24 (Greene et al. 2010). A young woman's ability to determine her future and live a life of dignity rests on how well-equipped and supported she is to exercise her reproductive rights and protect her reproductive health.
For tens of thousands of adolescents and young people in East Africa, lack of information, resources, and youth-appropriate services, particularly for contraceptive and safe abortion care, is frequently compounded by stigma related to premarital relationships and age discrimination that keeps them from being active participants in designing sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) programs that meet their specific needs.