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Does a school-based intervention increase girls’ sexual and reproductive health attitudes and intentions? Results from a mixed-methods cluster-randomized trial in Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso
Abstract

Adolescent girls in Burkina Faso face unintended pregnancy risk due to a lack of contraceptive use. The (re)solve project was designed to address contraceptive misperceptions and increase girls’ perceptions of their pregnancy risk, primarily through a participatory game and a health passport aimed at easing health facility access. The intervention components were implemented for girls in private and public school in grades 4ème and 3ème (grades 9 and 10) in Ouagadougou and Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso. We conducted an impact evaluation using a mixed-methods cluster randomized control trial design to evaluate (re)solve’s impact on girls’ intentions to use contraception, among other outcomes. Thirty-two schools were randomly allocated intervention or control. The evaluation included quantitative longitudinal surveys at baseline (N = 2,372) and endline (N = 2,072), qualitative in-depth interviews with girls in the intervention group at baseline (N = 41) and endline (N = 48) and with implementation staff (N = 35) and experts (N = 14) at endline. We used generalized estimating equations (GEE) analysis for the main analysis. Girls receiving the intervention had more positive attitudes related to contraception at endline compared to girls at control schools. (re)solve had a positive effect on girls’ intention to use contraception (aOR = 1.59, 95% CI 0.97–2.61), though this did not reach statistical significance. The impact was particularly large among girls who had never had sex, girls who attended public schools, and girls in 3ème. Qualitative findings suggest the intervention was well received and positively shifted attitudes and facility-seeking behaviors for many girls, but that myths and misconceptions related to contraceptive use persist in this mostly young, sexually naïve population. That the (re)solve intervention appears to have shifted adolescent girls’ attitudes toward using contraception, coupled with positive trends in intention to use contraception, indicates that interventions like (re)solve may ‘prime the pump’ for behavior change and increasing girls’ use of contraception.

This journal was originally published on PLOS Global Public Health.

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