Strategies for promoting the reproductive health of young people
When developing and implementing interventions you need to take into account that while many adolescents and young people share common characteristics, their needs vary by age, sex, educational status, marital status, migration status and residence. When developing and implementing interventions you need to appreciate that you will have to work in different ways with different age groups.
An activity that is suitable for those in early adolescence (10-14 years old) may not be suitable for those in post-adolescence (20-24 years old). For instance, those in their early adolescence are more likely to be in primary schools, not yet married and hence less likely to have started sexual relationships, all of which determine the type of information and services that would be appropriate for them.
You need to give special attention to these vulnerable young adolescents (aged 10-14) and those at risk of irreversible harm to their reproductive health and rights (e.g. through forced sex, early marriage, poverty-driven exchanges of sex for gifts or money, and violence). As has already been mentioned, some groups are more vulnerable than others and it is to vulnerable individuals that you need to offer most help. You will gain an understanding of who these vulnerable individuals are and insight into their difficulties, and you will learn how you can help them.
You may have already recognised that men and women are not treated equally in your community. In general, girls and women are treated as inferior and they are given fewer privileges and less access to resources. The roles they have within your community are different to the roles given to men. Gender refers to the socially and culturally defined roles for males and females. These roles are learned over time, can change from time to time, and vary widely within and between cultures. Later there will be a discussion of the way that women are treated unfairly because of the way they are viewed within many communities. This gender inequality means that girls and women need your help to safeguard their sexual and reproductive health to a greater extent than do young boys and men.
You will also learn how you can help provide a group of services for young people, such as counselling, family planning, voluntary counselling and testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV, maternal and child health, and post-abortion care. You will learn how to involve other members of your community and how to find ways of working with them and you will recognise when you need to refer individuals for help at the next level of health facility.