Community involvement in youth reproductive health and HIV prevention

Community involvement in youth reproductive health and HIV prevention

Supporting the promotion of young people’s sexual health

Are reproductive health and HIV prevention outcomes for young people better when a project makes an explicit effort to involve community members? This briefing paper summarises the findings of a range of studies that have sought to investigate this question.

The majority of evaluations reviewed identify positive effects including empowerment of participants, increased sustainability, greater acceptance of the initiative, and improved knowledge and attitudes. However, while studies that compared programmes that involved communities with standard programmes found these positive effects, some noted little or no differences in young people’s behaviour.

Additional key issues that emerge from project reports summarised in the literature analysis include:

  • creative strategies are needed to engage vulnerable groups
  • “safe spaces” for youth are important for sharing issues and accessing information
  • supportive, engaged adults can validate the importance of working on youth RH/HIV.

The paper also provides references and links to resources on community involvement and youth reproductive health and HIV prevention.