Creating the Healthiest Generation Ever
In 2012, Planned Parenthood Federation of America committed to combat the vulnerability of youth to unintended pregnancy, unsafe abortion, HIV/AIDS and other STDs, and cultural taboos around age and sexuality, by empowering a cadre of youth leaders and peer providers in the U.S., Africa, and Latin America. With six new partners in Africa and three new partners in Latin America, Planned Parenthood Global will train Youth Peer Providers in basic contraceptive counseling and prepare them to provide clients (friends, classmates, and acquaintances) with consistent access to modern pregnancy and STD prevention methods, including contraceptive pills and condoms, and injectables. In the U.S., Planned Parenthood Global will sponsor two global youth fellowship programs and a national youth organizing strategy to build the capacity of the next generation to fight for stronger investments in global health, including women’s and young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health care.
Youth Peer Provider participants will undergo extensive training and work under the ongoing supervision of medical professionals. While many peer education programs train young people to offer information, referrals to health centers, and condoms, the Youth Peer Provider model goes a step further. Participants are trained in basic contraceptive counseling and provide clients (friends, classmates, and acquaintances) with consistent access to modern pregnancy and STD prevention methods, including contraceptive pills and condoms, and in some countries injectables, all available without prescriptions in the countries where the model is implemented. They provide these services in discreet settings, often at the client’s home, ensuring the privacy of their clients, many of whom avoid the formal health care system out of fear of being recognized by family members or neighbors, or shamed by judgmental medical staff.
In the U.S., Planned Parenthood Global will sponsor two global youth fellowship programs and a national youth organizing strategy to build the capacity of the next generation to fight for stronger investments in global health including women’s and young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health care. Through these new fellowships and a reinvigorated approach to organizing youth in the U.S., PPFA hopes to forge connections between young leaders across regions by connecting them online and at international meetings.
Alongside these activities, a digital engagement campaign bringing real time policy information to youth across the U.S. via Planned Parenthood’s websites and social media platforms (which receive more than 4 million visitors each month) will be strengthened.
Planned Parenthood Global has piloted its Youth Peer Provider model in several focus countries in Africa and Latin America and trained colleagues interested in scaling up this model to reach new communities. In the next two years, Planned Parenthood Global commits to creating new Youth Peer Provider programs with six new partners in Africa and three new partners in Latin America. Additionally, Planned Parenthood Global will print and disseminate a training of trainers manual to enable other organizations working with young people to implement the program, will translate this manual in Spanish and will train at least four local or international colleague institutions in program implementation.
In Africa, Planned Parenthood Global has identified three local partners in Kenya primed to implement the model. In year one of the commitments, these three partners will work with Planned Parenthood Global’s Africa regional staff in Kenya to launch training programs of new Youth Peer Providers. New partners will be identified in year two, likely in Tanzania and Uganda, where Planned Parenthood Global is expanding programs.
Roll out will begin in Western Province, Kenya, with two partners identified during the training as willing to implement the model. Planned Parenthood Global staff will work in the first quarter of the commitment to train partner staff as trainers of trainers and support them in recruiting a first class of teens to be trained as Youth Peer Providers.
In Latin America, Planned Parenthood Global’s Latin America Regional Staff are working to identify new partners in countries where the model has been tested. These include Guatemala, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Peru. Planned Parenthood Global will translate the Youth Peer Provider training manual into Spanish for use in training these new partners.
In the United States, Planned Parenthood Federation of America will coordinate six global youth advocacy fellows per year to attend UN and other international meetings and design global health campaigns in their home communities; and two to four global youth ambassadors to travel to and work with Planned Parenthood Global’s country programs.
Additionally, the Federation will host sub-regional youth organizing training sessions across the U.S. and one national youth organizing conference to reach 1,500 young Americans with communications and advocacy skills.
Throughout the world, young people remain particularly vulnerable to unintended pregnancy, unsafe abortion, and STDs, including HIV/AIDS. They often face cultural taboos around their age and sexuality and struggle to realize their human rights.
To address these inequities globally, Planned Parenthood Global designed the Youth Peer Provider model, which combines curricula from community health worker and peer education models. Participants undergo extensive training and work under the ongoing supervision of medical professionals. While many peer education programs train young people to offer information, referrals to health centers, and condoms, the Youth Peer Provider model goes a step further, recognizing that in the rural areas and urban slums where partners supported by Planned Parenthood Global work, information doesn’t mean much without access.
While the Youth Peer Provider model operates outside of the United States, at home, Planned Parenthood engages its national network of youth leaders already focused on sexual and reproductive health and rights, and mobilizes new students interested in global health in order to create a grassroots movement in the U.S. that carries forward the goal of universal access to reproductive health throughout the world.
Through this commitment, both the Youth Peer Provider model abroad and the U.S. youth leaders program will be expanded and strengthened.
Planned Parenthood Global has supported 14 Global Youth Ambassadors in working with partners in four countries. These Ambassadors have undertaken significant education and advocacy on the role of young people in advancing global sexual and reproductive health and rights. They have published op-eds, presented at conferences, and used their roles to urge Senators on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to defend against attacks on access to family planning and abortion services globally to ensure that the health and rights of women and girls are central to foreign policy and assistance.
19 Global Youth Advocacy Fellows have been supportd. During this year’s Planned Parenthood Generation Action National Conference, Global Youth Advocacy Fellows had a visible presence, with key speaking roles, including introducing Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) during the opening reception, and speaking in the plenary session The Personal is Political: The Power in Our Stories. They also presented a workshop to nearly 40 participant,s speaking to the impact of U.S. policy on reproductive health access worldwide, and worked with organizers to determine actions they can take to advocate for global sexual and reproductive health and rights on their campuses.
A total of 3,436 Youth Peer Providers (YPP) who served over 454,000 clients with contraceptive methods including condoms, pills, and injectables were trained. An assessment of this program was conducted and found that the YPP program increased community support for adolescent and youth access to SRH information and services, increased knowledge of SRH among youth, and increased access and use of contraceptive methods by adolescents and youth.
Planned Parenthood Global has developed a replication manual for the organization’s Youth Peer Provider model and seeks new implementing partners wishing to launch programs as well as resource partners able to support new youth programs.
Planned Parenthood Global provides financial and technical assistance to partners implementing the Youth Peer Provider model.