Adolescents & Youth

In 2015, young people made more than 12.7 million visits for youth-friendly services through Pathfinder-supported programs.

In Bihar, one of India’s least developed, most populous states, a peer educator discusses contraception with a group of captivated young men.

In Ethiopia, Pathfinder trains providers to measure the reproductive health services young people are using, so they can learn from and improve their work.

Pathfinder develops programs that address adolescent girls unique vulnerabilities, such as early marriage and gender-based violence, which mainstream youth programs often overlook.

Pathfinder trains young people to advocate on their own behalf and we use our relationships with government and civil society partners to create entry points for these powerful new leaders.

Pathfinder International was one of the first organizations to recognize and act on the unique sexual and reproductive health needs of young people. For nearly 40 years, Pathfinder has led projects focused on improving adolescents and youth access to sexual and reproductive health services in more than 30 countries, under a wide range of circumstances.

Adolescence offers a critical juncture for intervention as young people are open to new ideas and beginning to form lifelong attitudes, values, and behaviors. Our programs capitalize on the vitality, potential, and dynamism of young people, including having them as active partners in developing, implementing, and evaluating programs.

Pathfinder's goal is to ensure young people have access to quality services that are tailored to effectively meet the diverse needs of adolescents and youth across countries and cultural contexts. Young people reached through Pathfinder's projects may be married, working, in school, or caring for younger siblings due to parents lost from AIDS.

Youth participation and community involvement are central to Pathfinder's adolescent programming as young people are the best poised to advocate for their needs. Given the sensitivities around adolescent sexual and reproductive health, we work with policy makers, parents, teachers, and health workers to recognize and support the special needs of this important and often vulnerable group.

Our key approaches for working with young people include:

  • Increasing the availability of youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services including contraceptive information and services, prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections and HIV, antenatal and postnatal care, as well as safe abortion services.
  • Fostering positive community and cultural norms, such as delaying the age of marriage and childbearing, as well as individual behavior change that lead to gender equality and improved sexual and reproductive health.
  • Building local capacity and national ownership to ensure sustainable sexual and reproductive health policies and programs that reach large numbers of young people.Advocating for increased resources and supportive policies for adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health.
  • Reaching diverse groups of young people with tailored interventions. This includes young people living with HIV, married adolescents, or adolescent girls.

Currently, Pathfinder has a range of projects dedicated to the needs of adolescents and youth around the world.


MY METHOD, MY CHOICE Do you believe contraception is a basic right? Explore the #mymethodmychoice campaign. Share your story by taking the pledge! »

Related Projects

Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health in Ghana

PAST PROJECT: The project aimed to increase the provision of AYSRH services that could effectively attract young people, meet their needs comfortably and responsively and retain young clients for continuing care in eight facilities in four districts in the Volta Region.

African Youth Alliance

PAST PROJECT: This project worked to improve, scale up, and institutionalize HIV and AIDS prevention and youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services. Institutional capacity building was a key component of the project.

Ending Female Genital Cutting in Guinea

PAST PROJECT: This USAID-funded project was a Pathfinder-led initiative to reduce and eliminate the practice of female genital cutting in Guinea.


Related Publications

August 2016

Implementing Performance-based Grants For Improved NGO Performance in Bangladesh

This technical brief explores performance-based grants implementation and offers insights on the use of pay-for-performance mechanisms at the NGO level in Bangladesh.

June 2016

HoPe LVB Beach Management

A new approach to conservation in the basin is the Health of People and Environment in the Lake Victoria Basin project. It seeks to reduce threats to biodiversity conservation and ecosystem degradation while simultaneously increasing access to family planning and reproductive health services.

April 2016

Young Mothers Take Control of Their Future

Today, half the world’s population is under 25. This issue of Pathways explores how young mothers like Dorothy are exercising their sexual and reproductive rights—and taking control of their future.

March 2016

Providing Reproductive Health Services to Young Married Women and First-time Parents in West Africa: A Supplemental Training Module for Facility-based Health Care Providers

Young married women and first-time parents (FTPs) face a unique set of challenges to living healthy sexual and reproductive lives. This training aims to give health care providers the knowledge and skills they need to meet the needs of these groups. This training is designed for use in francophone West Africa, where a significant proportion of adolescent girls aged 15–19 and young women aged 20–24 are married or living in union, but it can easily be adapted for other settings.


Related News

International conference stresses youth's reproductive health rights

Youths are deprived of information and services related to sexual or reproductive health. These issues are considered taboo due to social, cultural or religious norms in the developing and middle-income countries, speakers discussed on the third day of the International Conference on Family Planning, held at the Bali Nusa Dua Convention Centre in Indonesia.

"This is our way of calling on the national governments, civil society, and local communities to ensure that long-acting reversible contraceptives are available and accessible to sexually active adolescents and youths, without barriers or bias,” said Dr. Purnima Mane, CEO of Pathfinder International.

Give Youth a Right to Contraceptives

More than 40 leading global health and development organisations attending an international conference on family planning in Bali, Indonesia, have endorsed a statement that calls for the expansion of contraceptive choice for young people to include long acting reversible contraceptives.

Meeting Contraceptive Needs: Long-Term Associations Of the PRACHAR Project with Married Women’s Awareness and Behavior in Bihar

This article presents findings from an evaluation that sought to shed light on whether the improvements in contraceptive awareness and use observed following the implementation of the PRACHAR project were still evident four to eight years after its completion. Specifically, we examined whether women who were building families in areas where the PRACHAR project had been implemented—many of whom had not been directly exposed to the intervention—reported different contraceptive experiences than did those in comparison areas where the program had not been implemented.

Angola and Ethiopia Take On Family Planning in Latest Learning Exchange

Learning Exchange
The Adolescent Youth Sexual Reproductive Health Learning Exchange Trip brought key Angolan stakeholders to visit their counterparts in Ethiopia in July 2015.
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