Most Recent Knowledge Shared from the Network

November 10, 2015

A Chance Connection Becomes a Bond

Authors: Sophia Luthuli and Eve Sullivan, October 15 2015 - A distance of 7,853 miles and a six-hour time difference separate Johannesburg from Boston. Flying time from one city to the other is 18...

November 9, 2015

Cultivate a culture of protecting children at community level

Author: PSAf’s Gillies C. Kasongo, November 12 2015 - The fact that there are still community and media reports of children being abused through child neglect, defilement, exploitation and forced...

November 2, 2015

Integrating Family Planning and Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health Services

This  cumulative resource, open to reader contributions, is intended for those who are integrating family planning with maternal, newborn, and child health services throughout the life cycle....

October 13, 2015

"I want to go to university to become a doctor"

Author: Apune Jacob Alfred, October 13 2015 - The theme for this year's International Day of the Girl Child is the power of the adolescent girl and the vision for this generation of girls in 2030. As...

October 6, 2015

Your StoryTeller

Your StoryTeller is an initiative to create a story collection designed to extend the reach of community radio (CR) stations through interactive "Animated Audio-Visual Storytelling" on tuberculosis (...

September 28, 2015

A doll with a difference

Author: Siddhartha Swarup, September 28 2015 - A simple but effective new prop is helping health workers in India tackle one of the country’s biggest killers, says BBC Media Action’s Deputy Country...

September 11, 2015

10 Myths About Girls' Empowerment and Mobile Learning

Author: Linda Raftree, September 9 2015 - I had the chance to share some thoughts at UNESCO's recent Mobile Learning Week. My presentation explored some myths about girls empowerment and mobile...

September 9, 2015

Protect children from defilement, teen pregnancy

Author: Gillies C. Kasongo, September 30 2015 - The high number of defilements and teen pregnancies in rural Zambia is a cause for concern and requires concerted efforts to resolve. The Penal Code (...

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Recently Joined The CI Network

Adolescent Girls

Sexual and Reproductive Health of Women and Adolescent Girls Living with HIV: Guidance for Health Managers, Health Workers and Activists

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Publication Date
October 1, 2008

This manual - coordinated by EngenderHealth, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation - contains recommendations for creating programmes that protect and pro

"It Works!" Communication for HIV Prevention and Social Change in Adolescents: A Mid-Term Review

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Catharine Watson
Patrick Walungembe
Evelyn Namubiru
Asaac Kato
Tom Barton
Publication Date
February 1, 2009

Straight Talk Foundation

This 80-page evaluation, published by Straight Talk Foundation (STF), presents a mid-term review of the organisation's five year Strategic Plan (SP) for 2006 - 2010, which committed STF to increasing


Scribd website on December 2 2009.

Evaluating Programs Reaching Very Young Adolescents: Experiences and Lessons from My Changing Body, A Body Literacy and Fertility Awareness Course

Your rating: None (1 vote)
Susan Igras
Rebecka Lundgren
Sujata Bijou
Marie Mukabatsinda
Publication Date
November 18, 2009

Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH)

This 38-slide presentation from the Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH) at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, United States (US) was presented at the Click here to access the slideshow online.


IRH E-blast, November 2009.

Sister to Sister: USAID-funded Drug Demand Reduction Program in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and the Ferghana Valley Region of Kyrgyzstan

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Publication Date
December 1, 2007

Alliance for Open Society International (AOSI)


Ethical Issues in Using Participatory Video in Addressing Gender Violence in and Around Schools: The Challenges of Representation

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Relebohile Moletsane
Claudia Mitchell
Jean Stuart
Shannon Walsh
Myra Taylor
Publication Date
March 1, 2008

Human Sciences Research Council (Moletsane); University of KwaZulu-Natal (Moletsane/Stuart/Taylor/Mitchell); McGill University, Canada (Mitchell/Walsh)


Early Sexual Debut, Sexual Violence, and Sexual Risk-Taking among Pregnant Adolescents and Their Peers in Jamaica and Uganda

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Maxine Wedderburn
Jennifer Wagman
Cynthia Waszak Geary
Joy Noel Baumgartner
Heidi Toms Tucker
Laura Johnson
Publication Date
December 1, 2008

Hope Enterprises - Jamaica (Wedderburn), Rakai Health Sciences Program - Uganda (Wagman), FHI, Research - North Carolina, US (Waszak Geary, Baumgartner, Toms Tucker, Johnson)

Preventing Student Pregnancy in Guinea's Forest Region

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Sarah Castle
Publication Date
August 1, 2009

Posting to the CORE Group listserv, August 28 2009.

Reaching Out to Teen Mothers in Malawi

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Maria Mayzel
Faith Kachala
Brad Kerner
Publication Date
August 1, 2009

Save the Children

This case study examines a communication initiative implemented by Save the Children (SC) to improve the health of Malawian women aged 10 to 24 and their children in the southern Mangochi district thr


Email from Mia Foreman to The Communication Initiative on August 7 2009.

Reaching Out to Teen Mothers Initiative

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In 1999, Save the Children (SC) launched a 5-year programme that used an array of approaches to improve the reproductive and sexual health of people aged 10 to 25 in the southern Mangochi district of Malawi.

Communication Strategies: 

SC's ARSH Malawi programming worked with young people, their families, and communities to educate youth about reproduction and health, to build the teens' skills in decision-making and life choices, and to provide the means to prevent unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV. But, with help from USAID and its own resources, SC also worked with young women who were already mothers. In line with SC's approach to ARSH, reaching out to teen mothers was understood to involve recognising the whole person - a mother's physical, mental, and social health. SC chose to reach out to teen mothers primarily as teens, with similar needs and interests as their peers, and secondarily as mothers and wives.

Specifically, SC set up Teen Mothers Clubs (TMCs) to provide young mothers with a venue in which to discuss their common concerns - openly and without stigma - and to get support from fellow teen mothers and friends. Each TMC met once or twice a week, with members facilitating their own meetings. Typical discussion topics in a TMC meeting: independence, self-reliance, and economic opportunity; self-esteem; return to school; domestic violence prevention and outreach; negotiating FP and condom use with a partner; benefits and side effects of FP use; safe motherhood and birth spacing; preventing STIs and HIV; and care of the newborn. The TMCs were also considered a convenient space for reaching teen mothers, who SC claims have higher unmet need for FP than their non-parent peers. Each club was linked to one or more local youth CBD agents who could provide FP information, advice, and methods, including oral contraceptives and condoms. Male outreach workers connected with husbands of teen mothers as a strategy to increase FP use and increase frequency of communication about FP.

TMC members linked their group meetings to outreach to other teenagers. Club members went door to door; performed music, dance, and drama; and participated in community meetings. "The main focus of our community outreach is to educate other adolescents about unwanted pregnancy and the difficulties of being a teen mother," explained one TMC member.

A key programme strategy was involving parents, community leaders, teachers, and chiefs - so-called "gatekeepers" due to their important role in youths' lives. In one such activity, a team of 4 gatekeepers, plus 2 in-school teen mothers and one teacher, raised awareness with community members and schoolgirls about the benefits of FP and the dangers of teen pregnancies. In one event, a Traditional Authority Chief stood in the presence of 5 village chiefs and more than 200 community members and advocated that parents should delay marrying off their daughters and instead keep them in school. SC also invited initiation counsellors - the women and men who guide children's initiation into adulthood - to attend an ARSH workshop where FP messages were developed and incorporated, along with HIV prevention practices, into messages passed on to initiates.

The above-described strategies were also reflected in SC's efforts to raise awareness about the Ministry of Education (MoE) policy on teen mothers' re-enrollment in school (see Key Points, below), the importance of re-enrollment, and young women's right to re-enroll. Community members and parents were encouraged to support mothers' education and learned of the benefits to the women, their children, and communities as a whole. Teachers and school officials also learned of the readmission policy and the importance of supporting teen mothers' return to and retention in school. Youth CBD agents also promoted return to school. SC staff visited and counselled some of the teen mothers, preparing them to be assertive and prevent pregnancies before achieving their educational goals. Further, SC worked with local non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the District Education Office, and secondary schools to locate financial assistance for young mothers wishing to re-enroll. Finally, project staff encouraged teens who had returned to school to participate actively in TMCs alongside those who had not, so that members could learn from each others' experience.

Development Issues: 

Girls and Women, Reproductive Health, Education.

Key Points: 

Figures cited by SC indicate that Malawi's total fertility rate is high (5.6 children per woman) and contraceptive prevalence is low (28%). The adult HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is 15%, and young Malawian women are 3-5 times more likely than young men to be infected with HIV. Upwards of 20% of people aged 15 to 23 are HIV-positive. Even so, only 6% of sexually active 15- to 19-year-old women report using condoms.

Nearly 30% of Malawian girls aged 15 to 19 report being married, and one-third of adolescent women will have been pregnant or given birth by the time they reach 20. Most of these births occur within marriage or in union, yet pregnancy among unmarried teens has increased in recent years. Teen pregnancy is associated with poor health outcomes for woman and baby, but can also entail stigmatisation of young mothers, school dropout, and decreased likelihood that an adolescent will resume schooling after her baby is born. Traditionally, young women who are already mothers are expected to devote themselves wholly to their children and husbands, and this includes dropping out of school and ceasing to socialise with their peers.

In Malawi, 31% of girls complete primary school and 11% graduate from secondary school. Girls' dropout rate is higher than boys'; it is attributed to family responsibilities, early marriage, and pregnancy. In 1993, the Malawian MoE passed a law allowing teen mothers to return to school after the birth of a child. The policy dictates that a pregnant teen must write a letter withdrawing herself from school while she is pregnant. She must wait at least 6 months after the baby is born before reapplying for admission, at which time she must send two requests: one to the MoE and one to the school. She can be readmitted only once; if she drops out of school a second time she will be permanently expelled. SC found that most teachers, parents, and students were not aware of this policy. Young mothers in Mangochi rarely re-enrolled, and the few who tried reported discrimination and ridicule.

Partner Text: 

SC, with USAID funding.


"Reaching Out to Teen Mothers in Malawi" [PDF], forwarded by Mia Foreman to The Communication Initiative on August 7 2009; and email from Brad Kerner to The Communication Initiative on April 11 2013.

Mobilizing Married Youth in Nepal to Improve Reproductive Health: The Reproductive Health for Married Adolescent Couples Project, Nepal, 2005-2007

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Publication Date
August 1, 2008

This report evaluates the 2-year Reproductive Health for Married Adolescent Couples Project (RHMACP), implemented in Nepal in 2005 by the ACQUIRE Project in association with CARE Nepal and with fun


ACQUIRE Project website. Also see: M. Mehta and T. Castillo, Mobilizing Married Youth in Nepal to Improve Reproductive Health (Poster Presentation), The RESPOND Project, November 18 2009.

Featured Knowledge Shared

Mwanzo Bora: Can Public Service Announcements (PSAs) Improve Maternal and Child
September 2, 2015

"A qualitative study in March 2015 showed that the PSAs produced by local radio stations with the support of BBC Media Action contributed to...

August 28, 2015

"Social mobilization, advocacy and communications is a growing priority for SUN countries and increasingly seen as an integral part of the...

August 25, 2015

Author: Suman Chowdhury Mony, August 31 2015 - One of the very nice shiny morning of May 2015. The hills show their natural beauty. Suddenly...

June 29, 2015

Author: Ephraim Mhlanga, June 29 2015 - How do we deliver digital stories in contexts where there are power and connectivity issues?

June 26, 2015

"Our vision is for all African children to have enough stories in a language familiar to them to practise reading and learn to love reading."...

June 19, 2015

This guide, Steps to Engaging Children in Research: The Researcher Toolkit and Methods in Context, complements the first volume of...

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