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UNESCO HIV and Health Education Clearinghouse

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  1. The precocious period: the impact of early menarche on schooling in India

    Improvements in childhood nutrition increase schooling and economic returns in later life in a virtuous cycle. However, better nutrition also leads to an earlier onset of menstruation (menarche). In socio-cultural contexts where menarche adversely affects educational attainments, early menarche can thus break the virtuous cycle of girls’ human development. This paper focuses on one such context, India, and uses the Young Lives Longitudinal Study to show that starting menses before age twelve causes a 13% decrease in school enrollment rate. …

  2. "It's not normal": sexual exploitation, harassment and abuse in secondary schools in Senegal

    “It’s not normal” documents how female students are exposed to sexual exploitation, harassment, and abuse in middle and upper secondary schools. Based on interviews and focus group discussions with more than 160 girls and young women, the report documents cases of teachers who abuse their position of authority by sexually harassing girls and engage in sexual relations with them, promising students money, good grades, food, or items such as mobile phones and new clothes. …

  3. Mapping the knowledge and understanding of menarche, menstrual hygiene and menstrual health among adolescent girls in low- and middle-income countries

    This paper maps the knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and practices surrounding menarche, menstrual hygiene and menstrual health among adolescent girls in low and middle income countries in order to inform the future design of relevant policies and programming. The study of over 80 journal articles from a number of low and middle income countries confirmed that: (1) Many adolescent girls start their periods uninformed and unprepared. (2) Mothers are the primary source of information, but they inform girls too-little and too-late and often communicate their own misconceptions. …

  4. Education sector response to early and unintended pregnancy: a review of country experiences in sub-Saharan Africa

    In Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), early and unintended pregnancy leads to a colossal loss of educational opportunities for girls: A high proportion of pregnancies among adolescent girls aged 15-19 years in the region are unintended, and nearly all adolescent girls who have ever been pregnant are out of school in most SSA countries. Existing studies that show associations between early/unintended pregnancy and school dropout lead to critical questions about how the education sector is responding to the issue in SSA. …

  5. Estimating the costs and benefits of education from a health perspective: background paper for the Oslo Summit on Education for Development. Executive summary

    In preparation for the Oslo Summit on Education for Development in July 2015, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) commissioned SEEK Development to conduct an evaluation of the costs and benefits of education from a health perspective. Such a study is very relevant in light of ongoing discussions around the Sustainable Development Goals and post-2015 development agenda, which emphasize the need for a stronger focus on the broader determinants of health. The study is organized around three interconnected workstreams. …

  6. The need for quality sexual and reproductive health education to address barriers to girls’ educational outcomes in South Africa

    South Africa has made significant strides in enrolling girls in school, particularly at the basic education level, with high gender parity indexes (GPI) at the primary school level. However, the high attrition rate at the secondary level and the poor quality of educational experiences and learning opportunities, for girls in particular, remain areas of concern. …

  7. WASH in schools empowers girls' education in Freetown, Sierra Leone: An assessment of menstrual hygiene management in schools

    From June through July 2012, Emory University and UNICEF collaborated in research aimed to understand the range of challenges faced by girls during menstruation in urban Freetown, as well as the determinants of those challenges. This report presents the methods, findings and key programmatic recommendations to address menstruation-related challenges among girls. More than 100 participants were engaged in eight schools and two communities, including teachers and girls, both in school and out of school.

  8. A systematic review of the health and social effects of menstrual hygiene management

    Background: Differing approaches to menstrual hygiene management (MHM) have been associated with a wide range of health and psycho-social outcomes in lower income settings. This paper systematically collates, summarizes and critically appraises the available evidence. Methods: Following the PRISMA guidelines a structured search strategy was used to identify articles investigating the effects of MHM on health and psycho-social outcomes. The search was conducted in May 2012 and had no date limit. Data was extracted and quality of methodology was independently assessed by two researchers. …

  9. Teenage, married and out of school. Effects of early marriage and childbirth on school dropout

    In this paper, we tackle the question of causality between early marriage and school dropout, using data from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) from nine Southern and Eastern African countries. By comparing school participation patterns of girls who were married before or during the school year in question to those were never married, we are able to establish a sequence of events and therefore, a more solid foundation for treating marriage as a cause of school dropout. In short, the first research question for this paper is as follows: Research Question 1. …

  10. Adolescent Fertility in Low-and Middle-Income Countries: Effects and Solutions

    Adolescent fertility in low- and middle-income countries presents a severe impediment to development and can lead to school dropout, lost productivity, and the intergenerational transmission of poverty. However, there is debate about whether adolescent pregnancy is a problem in and of itself or merely symptomatic of deeper, ingrained disadvantage. To inform policy choices and create a revised research agenda for population and development, this paper aggregates recent quantitative evidence on the socioeconomic consequences of and methods to reduce of teenage pregnancy in the developing world. …

  11. Research dossier: HIV prevention for girls and young women in Kenya

    This Research Dossier supports the Report Card on HIV Prevention for Girls and Young Women in Kenya produced by the United Nations Global Coalition on Women and AIDS (GCWA). It documents the detailed research coordinated for the GCWA by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), with the support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Program on AIDS (UNAIDS) and Young Positives. The Report Card provides an "at a glance" summary of the current status of HIV prevention strategies and services for girls and young women in Kenya. …

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