Improving Communication About Reproductive Health in Families with Adolescents
Council researchers with the FRONTIERS program conducted an intervention to enhance communication between parents and their children in rural and urban areas in Senegal on values, expectations, and reproductive health issues.
FRONTIERS and the Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA) conducted an intervention to enhance communication between parents and their children on values, expectations, and reproductive health issues. The project involved urban and rural youth (aged 10–19) and their parents. Project partners created a supportive environment for discussion through community advocacy; creating community advisory boards including parents, youth, local leaders, and government representatives; and organizing educational activities, discussion groups for parents and children, and outreach. The main intent of outreach was to increase young people’s awareness of the risks entailed in sexual activity and to inform them about protective measures. Researchers surveyed both parents and adolescents to assess improvements in the quality of communication resulting from the intervention.
Within the Senegalese cultural context, despite the sensitivity associated with discussing sexuality, responses to baseline and endline surveys showed that significantly more young people reported discussing reproductive health with their parents (57% vs. 62%). Parents and guardians tended to discuss specific topics according to gender—abstinence and chastity as ways to prevent pregnancy with girls, and risks of sexually transmitted infections with boys. Contraception remained a sensitive issue both before and after the intervention. The support of the Senegalese government contributed to the achievements of this project, and intergenerational communication is now included among the activities conducted by the Ministry of Youth. CEDPA has replicated the intervention in South Africa.
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Duration: 7/2005 - 1/2007
Centre for Development and Population Activities