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UNESCO HIV and Health Education Clearinghouse

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  1. Menstrual health and school absenteeism among adolescent girls in Uganda (MENISCUS): A feasibility study

    Management of menstruation can present substantial challenges to girls in low-income settings. In preparation for a menstrual hygiene intervention to reduce school absenteeism in Uganda, this study aimed to investigate menstruation management practices, barriers and facilitators, and the influence of menstruation on school absenteeism among secondary school students in a peri-urban district of Uganda. …

  2. 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. …

  3. 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. …

  4. The association between being currently in school and HIV prevalence among young women in nine eastern and southern African countries

    Interventions to keep adolescent girls and young women in school, or support their return to school, are hypothesised to also reduce HIV risk. Such interventions are included in the DREAMS combination package of evidence-based interventions. Although there is evidence of reduced risky sexual behaviours, the impact on HIV incidence is unclear. We used nationally representative surveys to investigate the association between being in school and HIV prevalence.

  5. Violence against women and girls and education

    Violence in schools and amongst school children is widespread and impacts educational attainment, health and wellbeing. However, schools also provide opportunities for preventing violence, learning about gender equality and respectful relationships, and even reducing violence at home and in future relationships. …

  6. "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. …

  7. Leave no girl behind in Africa: discrimination in education against pregnant girls and adolescent mothers

    This report provides information on the status of laws, policies, and practices that block or support pregnant or married girls’ access to education. It also provides recommendations for much-needed reforms.

  8. Menarche and its implications for educational policy in Peru

    Indigenous girls in rural areas live in the most extreme poverty and make up the least educated groups in Peru. These girls face numerous constraints to obtaining an education. Enrollment rates are lower for girls in rural areas, and their grade repetition rates are higher than those for boys. Adolescence is particularly difficult, as girls face a number of risks during this time. Once they begin menstruation, completing their primary school education is a formidable challenge, and opportunities for advancing to secondary school are limited. …

  9. Menstrual hygiene management among Bangladeshi adolescent schoolgirls and risk factors affecting school absence: results from a cross-sectional survey

    Background: Many adolescent girls in low-income and middle-income countries lack appropriate facilities and support in school to manage menstruation. Little research has been conducted on how menstruation affects school absence. This study examines the association of menstrual hygiene management knowledge, facilities and practice with absence from school during menstruation among Bangladeshi schoolgirls. Methods: We conducted a nationally representative, cross-sectional study in Bangladeshi schools from March to June 2013 among girls 11 to 17 years old who reached menarche. …

  10. 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.

  11. 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. …

  12. 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. …

  13. Assessing the effect of teenage pregnancy on achieving universal basic education in Ghana: a case study of Upper Denkyira West District

    The consequences of teenage pregnancy are gigantic and inimical to the wellbeing of adolescent population as well as development in the broad-spectrum. As a result, this study assessed the effect of teenage pregnancy on achieving universal basic education in Ghana: a case study of Upper Denkyira West District. The research design employed for this study was the mixed approach. Both qualitative and quantitative research methods were applied for the study. Purposive and snowball sampling techniques were applied in selecting respondents for the study and the sample size was 80. …

  14. Kenya: helping adolescent mothers remain in school through strengthened implementation of school re-entry policies

    The goal of this case study is to document an activity of the STEP UP research programme consortium which resulted in successful evidence utilization. This is to both demonstrate the positive impact STEP UP is having on family planning and reproductive health policies, as well as to document the process by which this was achieved so as to inform future research of successful strategies and lessons learned. …

  15. Menstruation and the cycle of poverty: a cluster quasi-randomised control trial of sanitary pad and puberty education provision in Uganda

    Background: Poor menstrual knowledge and access to sanitary products have been proposed as barriers to menstrual health and school attendance. In response, interventions targeting these needs have seen increasing implementation in public and private sectors. However, there has been limited assessment of their effectiveness. …

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