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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. The effects of adolescent childbearing on literacy and numeracy in Bangladesh, Malawi, and Zambia

    Global investments in girls’ education have been motivated, in part, by an expectation that more-educated women will have smaller and healthier families. However, in many low- and middle-income countries, the timing of school dropout and first birth coincide, resulting in a rapid transition from the role of student to the role of mother for adolescent girls. Despite growing interest in the effects of pregnancy on levels of school dropout, researchers have largely overlooked the potential effect of adolescent childbearing on literacy and numeracy. …

  3. Girls' empowerment through Education and Health (ASPIRE) Activity: final report, December 17, 2014-December 16, 2018

    USAID/Malawi launched the Girls’ Empowerment through Education and Health (ASPIRE) Activity in December 2014, beginning a bold cross-sector investment to improve the achievement of girls in upper primary and secondary school in Malawi. USAID’s investment in ASPIRE recognized that for girls’ to achieve academic success, they must enter and stay in school, be learning and safe while in school, and be healthy and supported by their community at all times. Output 1: Reading skills for girls in upper primary school improved. …

  4. Zero discrimination against women and girls: fact sheet

    On Zero Discrimination Day and as part of the global movement for equality for women and girls, UNAIDS is highlighting seven areas where discrimination against women and girls persists, raising awareness and calling for change: 1) Equal participation in political life; 2) Human rights and laws that empower; 3) Economic justice - equal pay for equal work; 4) End gender-based violence; 5) Access to health care without stigma or barriers, including bodily autonomy and sexual and reproductive health and rights; 6) Equal and free access to primary and secondary education; 7) Climate justice.

  5. Adolescent Girls Empowerment Program (AGEP): sexual and gender-based violence; brief, March 2018

    Acceptability and experience of sexual and gender-based violence is alarmingly high among adolescent girls in Zambia. Even more striking is the very young age from which notions of violence are ingrained and experience with violence begins. This brief summarizes the Adolescent Girls Empowerment Program (AGEP) evaluation which demonstrated that in the Zambian context, a program focused on changing norms among girls themselves is not enough to impact attitudes toward and experience of violence. …

  6. Nutrition education curriculum for the Adolescent Girls Empowerment Program (AGEP)

    The Adolescent Girls Empowerment Program (AGEP) in rural and urban Zambia aims to build social, health, and economic assets of adolescent girls. A safe spaces component is at the core of AGEP. Girls groups, under the guidance of a female mentor from the same community, provide a safe and supportive learning environment. The meetings are critical in building social assets for vulnerable girls - including friendships, self-esteem, trusting relationships with adults, and social support. …

  7. "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. …

  8. A sexual and reproductive health peer education programme for girls in grades 7 to 9. Mentor’s manual

    This sexual and reproductive health (SRH) peer education programme was developed as part of the Department of Basic Education’s (DBE) Leveraging Partnerships to Achieve the Goals of South Africa’s HIV & AIDS and STI National Strategic Plan 2012–16, otherwise known as Keeping Girls in School. The aim of this component of the programme is to shift social norms and change sexual behaviour by reinforcing and supporting the SRH messages received via the curriculum in order to increase retention and reduce the risk of HIV infection and teenage pregnancy.

  9. From evidence to action: results from the 2013 baseline survey for the BALIKA project

    The objective of the “BALIKA: Bangladeshi Association for Life Skills, Income, and Knowledge for Adolescents” project is to generate programmatic evidence to delay marriage in Bangladesh. This report documents baseline data from a survey conducted in 96 villages in the districts of Khulna, Narail, and Satkhira on a range of related indicators on education, livelihoods, sexual and reproductive health, and social life. …

  10. Creating village champions for girls’ education

    Families, communities and village governments are often the key decision-makers regarding girls’ lives. They can also be the most difficult to persuade in terms of delaying girls’ marriages. Their support can ensure that changes initiated by Samata are sustained well after the end of the programme.

  11. Schools become safer and friendly for girls

    Samata works with 64 schools across 49 villages in two districts of Bagalkot and Bijapur in northern Karnataka. Teachers and members of the School Development Management Committee (SDMC) are given gender training, as they are key stakeholders in transforming schools into gender-responsive teaching and learning environments. …

  12. Fostering adolescent girl leaders

    At the heart of the Samata intervention is the development of a cadre of adolescent girl leaders who will sustain changes in favour of girls’ education and gender equality in their villages. The programme mentors girls to become confident and vocal young feminists, active in their communities and schools. Samata aims to equip them with the knowledge and skills to effectively negotiate a space that is hostile to women. Overall, the Samata programme has reached 3,600 girls across 69 villages in 2 districts of Bagalkot and Bijapur in northern Karnataka.

  13. Cash transfers: magic bullet or fundamental ingredient?

    Comment on a study published in The Lancet Global Health by Audrey Pettifor and colleagues on cash transfers, school attendance and the reduction of HIV risk behaviours in adolescent girls.

  14. The effect of a conditional cash transfer on HIV incidence in young women in rural South Africa (HPTN 068): a phase 3, randomised controlled trial

    Cash transfers have been proposed as an intervention to reduce HIV-infection risk for young women in sub-Saharan Africa. However, scarce evidence is available about their effect on reducing HIV acquisition. The authors aimed to assess the effect of a conditional cash transfer on HIV incidence among young women in rural South Africa. Based on their research findings, the authors draw the conclusion that cash transfers conditional on school attendance did not reduce HIV incidence in young women. School attendance significantly reduced risk of HIV acquisition, irrespective of study group. …

  15. 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. …

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