Adolescents & Youth

In 2013, young people made nearly 700,000 visits for youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health 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.

Related Projects

Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health in Ghana

The Project aimed to increase the provision of ASRH 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

This project sought 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.

Certification Strategies for the School-Based Program Geracao Biz

Pathfinder aims is to evaluate the strategies of the Geracao BIZ project, as well as transform the knowledge, attitudes and practices of primary school, high school, secondary education and technical education students in sexual reproductive health.


Related Publications

July 2014

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.

July 2014

m4Youth: Providing Sexual and Reproductive Health Information to University Students and Peer Educators

Pathfinder is using m4youth, a free SMS service, to impact students’ knowledge of sexual and reproductive health, thereby increasing their utilization of services.

July 2014

mCenas! Reaching Youth with Information and Stories about Sexual Health

mCenas! - a comprehensive text message-based program that targeted youth aged 15-24 - has increased knowledge about contraceptive methods and dispel common myths around contraceptive methods.

June 2014

Scale-up of Adolescent Contraceptive Services: Lessons from a 5-Country Comparative Analysis

This article retrospectively analyzes the scale up of adolescent-friendly contraceptive services in five countries and draws lessons learned to inform implementation and sustainable scale up of HIV and other services for adolescents.


Related News

Pakistan: Where Mothers Are Also Children

Dr. Tauseef Ahmed, Pakistan country director of Pathfinder International, a non-profit organisation working to improve adolescent and youth access to sexual and reproductive health services in more than 30 countries, says that early pregnancy is not uncommon among teenage brides. In fact, having a baby is a way of proving one’s fertility, and the values of adolescent pregnancy are “protected by women and girls themselves,” he told IPS.

Launching a New National Strategy for Preventing Child Marriage in Egypt

Group of stakeholders gather at launch
On June 16, with funding from the Ford Foundation, Pathfinder International in Egypt, in conjunction with the National Population Council, launched a new national strategy for preventing child marriage.

Feminism for Goddesses: Does Kumari Worship Empower Girls?

While goddess worship is meaningful in areas of the predominantly Hindu country of India, is it a practice that empowers girls? The Guardian explores.

Pathfinder International recognises the importance of engaging with the wider community, including opening dialogues with religious leaders from different faiths as well as Hinduism. Encouraging them to advocate projects in their communities, such as Prachar which focuses on girls' reproductive health and empowerment in Haryana, they have found a shift in negative perceptions and reductions in early marriages and pregnancies.

Progress Review: Contraception Use Among Adolescent Girls

Giving young women access to birth control is a global public health priority. Find out about the challenges that remain and the projects changing the odds for girls.

An outstanding example of overcoming the barriers that adolescents face accessing contraception is Pathfinder International's PRACHAR project. Intended to promote change in reproductive behaviour of adolescents project in Bihar, India, events were held for newly married couples to celebrate their marriage and emphasise the benefits of delaying having children and provided couples with a small supply of oral contraceptive pills and condoms.

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