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Population Dynamics & Reproductive Health

Population Growth and Environmental Change

Progress towards goals 4 (reducing child mortality) and 5 (improving maternal health) of the millennium development goals (MDGs) has been generally slow in sub-Saharan Africa.  To meet these and other MDGs, sub-Saharan Africa’s best hope remains its vast and untapped Human Capital. Yet, about 4 million infants and children continue to die annually from preventable causes, whilst unchecked unintended pregnancy increasingly contributes to unsafe abortion and consequently poor maternal health outcomes. Emerging evidence asserts that the disparity in key family planning and sexual reproductive health indicators is widening, making it clear that our Human Capital has been and is under threat. We need to focus our efforts toward providing robust scientific evidence to guide crucial policy generation and implementation to curb the needless hemorrhage. In doing this we would not only have a fighting chance at meeting the MDGs but we would also have saved and positively impacted countless lives.

Current Project

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Adolescent Girls Initiative – Kenya

Program: Population Dynamics & Reproductive Health

Adolescent girls in Kenya face considerable risks and vulnerabilities that affect their education status, health and general wellbeing.  In addition to low educational attainment and health risks – including early marriage, teenage pregnancy, early and unprotected sexual activity, non-consensual sex, and HIV/STIs – other factors that impact education and health outcomes include household poverty, lack of economic independence, limited income earning opportunities, illiteracy, violence, and social isolation.  For the most part, younger adolescent girls ages 10-14 who live in environments laden with these vulnerabilities have not yet experienced the associated critical negative outcomes – school dropout, first sex, unwanted pregnancy, early marriage, and experience of sexual and gender based violence.  Therefore, it is critical to intervene at a time when girls are experiencing a myriad of challenges, but before those challenges have resulted in outcomes that may be irreversible.

The Population Council led program, aims to reach at least 6,000 girls ages 11–14 in the northern arid lands and urban slums of Kenya with education and information about health, violence prevention through intensive community engagement, education subsidies, and wealth creation initiatives. These interventions will be implemented in different combinations and rigorously evaluated through a randomized controlled trial to determine which combinations of program elements have the greatest impact on improving health and other outcomes in girls’ lives. The project will identify best practices, and help to refine the critical content themes of girl-centered programs and eliminate ineffective approaches.

 

Partner Institutions

  • Population Council (Lead)
  • Itad
  • Save the Children
  • Plan International

 

Partner Members

  • Karen Austrian (Principal Investigator)
  • Eunice Muthengi (Deputy Director)

 

Project Period

  • 2013-2019

Project Funders

  • DFID

    www.gov.uk/dfid ...

Resources

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