In 2019, we partnered with Women Deliver and the Government of Canada (Global Affairs Canada) on a new research initiative focused on engaging youth as researchers and advocates around youth sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). The multi-country project takes place in India, Malawi, and Rwanda and will engage youth as advisors, researchers, and advocates. The initiative aims to generate insights that will shape the investment case for youth-friendly SRHR interventions, such as modern contraception or gender-based violence counseling. In addition, the results will equip youth with the evidence needed to carry forward their own advocacy efforts.
The project leverages Girl Effect’s award-winning Technology Enabled Girl Ambassadors (TEGA) programme; a mobile-based peer-to-peer research methodology where young women between 17-24 are trained to become fully qualified researchers within their communities.
Multiple data and knowledge gaps remain regarding youth’s sexual and reproductive health. Youth are often not engaged in shaping health services due to systematic barriers and persistent marginalization. Initiatives that engage youth throughout have the potential to better address the needs of communities in a sustainable way. The research, funded by Global Affairs Canada, will equip decision-makers with the information they need to create more inclusive health systems.
Through consultations, youth will shape the primary research question and TEGAs will collect the corresponding data. Further, a Youth Advisory Board on research will facilitate input from Women Deliver Young Leaders—outstanding young advocates for gender equality and the health and rights of girls and women—on the initiative.
Working alongside with Global Affairs Canada and Girl Effect, Women Deliver shared this research with key decision-makers and policymakers—advocating for not only youth-vetted improvements to health services—but the consistent engagement of youth in the development of future SRHR programs. In addition, the findings will inform advocacy and accountability efforts from the community level to the national level—which could range from consultations with policymakers to developing guidelines that require youth input on programs intended to serve them. By doing so, communities and governments stand to gain a healthier and more engaged generation of youth.