Reaching very young adolescents (VYAs): advancing program, research and evaluation practices

Conference Reports
Washington DC
Institute for Reproductive Health
26 p.

This report is based on a meeting held June 10-11th, 2010, in Washington, DC. The technical consultation brought together program practitioners, academics, donors, researchers and evaluators to: share and analyze evolving and promising practices for developing, implementing and taking to scale developmentally-appropriate, curriculum-based interventions and programs for very young adolescents (VYAs); review indicators and methods currently used to evaluate curriculum-based programs for VYAs; and define key next steps for increasing evidence of success and promoting scale-up of VYA programs that make a difference in young people's lives. Five key questions guided discussions about curriculum-based programs for VYAs: 1. What examples do we have of curriculum-based programs for VYAs that address not only reproductive health and HIV but also gender and sexuality? What evidence do we have regarding their effectiveness? How have these programs been monitored and evaluated? 2. Compared to the recent UNESCO guidelines on holistic sexuality education, what are the gaps in current VYA programs that have curriculum-based components? 3. What are the challenges of designing, implementing and scaling up effective programs? What are potential strategies to address these challenges? 4. What examples exist of complementary interventions to create enabling environments, such as reaching parents and other important adults that foster adult-VYA communication and support for VYAs? 5. What indicators and evaluation methodologies can be used to capture difficult-to-measure outcomes such as improved gender and sexuality awareness and attitudes, increased agency (self-efficacy) among girls and boys?

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