Over the past decade, investments made in sexuality education have increased young people’s knowledge about SRHR in most countries. Yet this has not resulted in the expected and far-reaching improvements in young people’s health that we had hoped for.
Many young people in developing countries still face barriers in accessing services to improve their sexual and reproductive health and rights. The supply and demand for these services remain influenced by environmental, social and legal barriers. Taboos, incomplete or biased information, stigmas, discrimination, poverty and lack of a feeling of self-efficacy and perspective for the future, make young people, and specifically girls, vulnerable to sexual risks. Health seeking possibilities and access to contraceptives are compromised by the same factors, as well as a lack of high-quality, youth-friendly services. This puts young people at risk of STIs, unwanted or early pregnancies and maternal and child deaths.
Improve the SRHR of 13 million young people (10-24 years) by increasing their uptake of SRH services, including access to contraceptives, safe abortion and antenatal care.
- Empowered communities by improving the provision of SRHR information and education;
- Sustainable services by improving provision of youth-friendly SRH services;
- Create an enabling environment at social, legal and policy levels to remove barriers in accessing the information and services young people need.
The Access, Services and Knowledge (ASK) programme is an initiative of the Youth Empowerment Alliance (Simavi, Rutgers WPF, Dance4Life, CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality, AMREF, International Planned Parenthood Federation and Stop Aids Now!).
By improving Access, Services and Knowledge (ASK) to SRHR services for young people and women we will boost safe motherhood and their sexual and reproductive health and rights. Together with 59 local partner organisations, the alliance targets key elements to empower young people in Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan, Senegal and Uganda to claim their SRHR rights. These key elements are:
- Information and education;
- Youth-targeted and youth-friendly services;
- Acceptance of young people’s sexuality.
These elements constitute a comprehensive approach, that harnesses meaningful youth participation and innovative approaches to remove the barriers young people face in taking up SRHR services.
Simavi implements the ASK programme in Kenya, Ghana, Uganda and Indonesia together with 12 local partners. Our approach consists of improving empowerment by raising awareness and organising mechanisms to address the needs of young people as well as creating an enabling environment for them at multiple levels. Simavi supports local partners with the following activities:
- Capacity building of Community Based Organisations and supporting their SRHR activities;
- Comprehensive sexuality education for youth in and out of school;
- Training service providers on youth friendly services;
- Outreach activities in communities to raise awareness on the importance of SRHR;
- Setting up youth clubs and strengthen existing youth clubs;
- Advocating SRHR at local, regional and (inter) national level.
To ensure sustainable change these services are implemented according to our FIETS principles. ASK seeks to sustainably improve young people’s SRH by building young people’s capacity to make safe choices and strengthening both partner organisations and service providers to improve youth friendly SRH services. Community and religious leaders, parents and caregivers, local health workers, and local and national politicians, are all involved to create a more enabling environment at community, district, regional and national level. Together these groups work to develop and adapt services that answer the needs that young people have defined.
In 2015, Simavi has focused on implementing its Theory of Change within the ASK programme. That means, we simultaneously worked on the three pillars of our Theory of Change.
Together with its partners, Simavi tracked several key output indicators. These were some of the results in 2015:
- 1,932,538 people (target: 751,815) directly reached with education on SRHR, including sexuality, sexually transmitted diseases, contraceptives, pregnancy, delivery, and available services;
- 1,924,708 people (target: 744,331) who participated in awareness raising;
- 740 community groups (target: 68) organising SRHR activities.
- 53 representatives (target: 44) at advocacy meetings.
You can find a complete programme results overview of 2015 here.