25 Jan 2016

Adolescents 360

Putting teenagers at the heart of conversations about their reproductive health

We are proud to partner with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Population Services International to fund a new approach to adolescent reproductive health. We are making this commitment to help improve the lives and health of thousands of young women.

Adolescents 360 is a $30 million joint-investment to fund modern contraceptive use and reduce unplanned pregnancy among young girls aged between 15-19 in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Nigeria. It will fund programs developed by young people, for young people that respond to adolescents’ specific needs in obtaining contraceptives. Pregnancy at such a young age, robs girls of the chance to live her healthiest and most productive life. In low- and middle-income countries, pregnancy complications is a leading cause of death for teenage girls.

Our hope is that this initiative will be a step toward better understanding this diverse and complex generation, and that our work in this area will inspire other donors and governments to put adolescents at the centre of their efforts to expand contraceptive access.

Unwanted pregnancy interrupts young women’s plans in many other ways. In parts of sub-Saharan Africa, as many as one in four young women who becomes pregnant drops out of school, lowering her lifelong earning potential and trapping her family in an inter-generational cycle of poverty. Babies born to teenagers are also more likely to die, be undernourished and suffer poor health.

In many places, young women don’t have a place to seek high-quality counselling and care from an unbiased healthcare provider. On top of that, young people’s views of contraceptives are often shaped by rumours and misinformation. We will support adolescents to identify solutions themselves to help combat the stigma and misinformation. Many countries have successfully tackled the sensitivities and our responsibility to this generation is that we must act now.

More details from PSI here.