"Build on What They Know"
Empowering teens improves health in Peru
The current generation of 1.8 billion adolescents—a quarter of the world’s population—is the largest in history. MSH invests in the health of youth and engages them as leaders capable of generating dynamic ideas, creating new solutions, and mobilizing resources for sustainable health systems in their communities.
In the Padre Abad district of Peru, teenage girls are nearly twice as likely to become pregnant than their peers across the country. MSH’s Healthy Communities and Municipalities II (HCM II) project, funded by USAID, launched an initiative in the district to improve communication between parents and their kids, increase activities for youth, and put adolescent health on the agenda of the local government. The project mobilized communities through communication campaigns, art contests, family visits, and workshops for parents and teens.
As a result of the teen workshops, over 200 youth reported that they boosted their knowledge of family planning, their leadership skills, communication with their parents, and their self-esteem. HCM II also met with local officials, who were motivated by the community engagement: neighborhood councils facilitated project activities, leveraged 60 percent of the total budget for the initiative, and developed proposals to support adolescent health going forward.
In May 2014, MSH’s Leadership, Management and Governance (LMG) Project co-hosted an event on youth leadership for family planning at the World Conference on Youth in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The conference brought together over 1,500 youth delegates to create an action plan for including young people in the post-2015 global development agenda. MSH partnered with the International Family Planning Federation and the International Youth Alliance on Family Planning to host the event, which supported teens’ leadership capability to address health issues that directly affect them.
Above photo: Leslie Alsheimer