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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. Pupil absenteeism, measurement, and menstruation: Evidence from Kenya

    Impact evaluations focused on school absenteeism commonly use school records of untested quality or expensive spot-check data. We use a large dataset on more than 30,000 unannounced random spot-checks for 6,000 female and male students across 30 schools in Western Kenya, with equivalent school record entries. First, we confirm that while absenteeism is common overall, pubescent girls miss more schooldays than boys because of high incidence of school transfers. …

  3. "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. …

  4. Menstruation and menstrual hygiene management in selected KwaZulu-Natal schools

    The focus of this study was on the impact of menstruation and menstrual hygiene management on girl learners in schools in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Issues related to cultural practices, teachings about menstruation, access to sanitary supplies necessary during menstruation and to sanitation, as well as psychological trauma, particularly at menarche (the time of their first menstruation), were looked at. The study also attempted to capture the feelings and experiences of learners and their knowledge at menarche.

  5. 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. …

  6. Tackling child marriage and early childbearing in India: lessons from Young Lives

    The Government of India has made combatting child marriage and early childbearing a priority. This brief uses data collected from 1,000 19-year-olds in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to help inform policy and programming efforts. In Young Lives survey, 28% of girls and just 1% of boys married before the age of 18. By the age of 19, a majority (59%) of married young women had already given birth. Young Lives has been following the lives of these young people and their families since 2002. …

  7. Aahung – empowering adolescents in Pakistan through life skills-based education

    Aahung, a Karachi-based sexual and reproductive health non-profit organization, has developed a life skills-based education (LSBE) program for school-going adolescent girls and boys. This intervention provides young people with skills and knowledge related to adolescent reproductive health, such as accurate information about puberty and related changes, marital rights, peer pressure, sexual harassment and body protection, gender inequities, early marriage, nutrition, self-confidence, decision-making, and communication skills. …

  8. 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. …

  9. 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. …

  10. 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. …

  11. Situación actual del embarazo adolescente en Chile

    En Chile, desde la definición de la Política de Regulación de la Fecundidad en el año 1967, la actividad de Regulación de la Fecundidad está incorporada oficialmente dentro del Programa de Salud de la Mujer del Ministerio de Salud, donde se ha desarrollado e implementado, en forma ininterrumpida a partir de entonces. …

  12. 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.

  13. 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. …

  14. 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. …

  15. A review of teenage pregnancy in South Africa – experiences of schooling, and knowledge and access to sexual and reproductive health services

    Approximately 30% of teenagers in South Africa report ‘ever having been pregnant’, the majority, unplanned. While this number has decreased over the past few decades, it is still unacceptably high. The figure is for all teenagers. (13-19 years old), but motherhood for an 18 or 19 year old has very different implications than for a young teenager, one aged 15, for example. Therefore this report tries, where possible, to be mindful of differing experiences of pregnancy and motherhood across the teen years. …

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