A Study of Reproductive Health Education Strategies for Out of School Youth in Senegal

Over the summer of 2009, GPIA student Amy Sommer and Oulèye Niang Fall, Master’s candidate at l’Institut de Population, Développement et Santé de la Reproduction (IPDSR) of Cheikh Anta Diop University, worked in Senegal, in the field of adolescent reproductive health, as part of a project for UNFPA. Their study, conducted at the sites of Mbour, Tambacounda, and Kolda, presents an analysis of the Ministry of Youth’s Adolescent Counseling Centers (CCAs) strategies, designed to raise awareness and change behaviors of out-of-school youth. It also offers a logistical framework to better reach this population.

In 2000, the Senegalese Ministry of Youth, through its Youth Promotion Project (PPJ), created the Adolescent Counseling Centers (CCA). This network of 13 CCAs has as its primary objective to raise awareness among young people in the area of reproductive health (RH) to lower the incidences of STIs, early pregnancies, and HIV/AIDS. Out-of-school youth, by virtue of their vulnerability to reproductive health challenges, constitute the principal target population of the CCAs. This study presents an analysis of the CCA’s strategies designed to raise awareness and change behaviors of out-of-school youth in Mbour, Tambacounda, and Kolda, and offers a logistical framework to better reach this population.

Today, the incidence of STIs, HIV/AIDS, and the frequency of early pregnancy constitutes a palpable health problem among adolescents, particularly among out of school youth. These facts underscore the importance of reproductive health education. It is within this framework that the Ministry of Youth of Senegal, by means of its Project for the Promotion of Youth (PPJ), seeks to provide adequate reproductive health education and services for adolescents and youth. The goal is to promote RH for out of school youth through a network of adolescent youth counseling centers (CCAs). The CCA have as their primary objective to raise awareness among adolescents and young people with  the aim of lowering the incidence of early pregnancy, and the transmission of HIV and other STIs. The intervention strategies used in these programs are crucial with regard to programme efficacy. Given this, what is the influence of these strategies on the level of RH  education for out of school youth? This study, carried out in the cities of Mbour, Tamabathst and Kolda, seeks to analyze the RH education strategies of the CCAs. It will identify problems and offer recommendations to improve the strategies at hand to better reach the target population.

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