With nearly 1.2 billion adolescents (10-19 years old) worldwide, there is a recognized need for addressing the unique challenges of adolescent health, including sexual and reproductive health and rights (ASRHR). The gaps in data poses challenges for NGOs working in ASRHR, specifically in program planning, monitoring and impact measurement. Project partners looked at how to best measure and analyze existing data from ASRHR datasets and reports that are widely available but cover only standard indicators. The project will assess what national surveys can explain about SRHR inequalities. The second component of the project explores ways of collecting the information that is not available from analyses of existing datasets. The focus is on testing mixed methods approaches for effective and feasible strategies to collect ASRHR data.
• Convening learning spaces: Deliver workshops to share and discuss research findings completed across ten sites, and through conferences and knowledge dissemination avenues. This will advance current work and best practices among partners on measurement and monitoring of ASRHR, gender equity and related reproductive, maternal and child health and nutrition issues.
• Develop NGO learning packages: Ongoing partner touchpoints support the selection of a core suite of indicators, methods and tools for measurement and monitoring of ASRHR programs and projects, and how to refine and package this for use by non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
• Implementation of qualitative strategy method: A peer ethnography qualitative strategy method will be developed, implemented and shared as a model for collecting sensitive ASRHR topic data.
• Multi-country data workshops: Facilitated 3 workshops, including one technical capacity-building workshop in Ethiopia with participants representing 10 African countries to build evidence base for country specific adolescent sexual reproductive health and rights (ASRHR) profiles. The workshop strengthened the analytical capacity of analysts and academic participants through joint work on large national database analyses focused on major relevant ASRHR and gender dimensions.
• Published a synthesis paper on adolescent sexual and reproductive health in sub-Saharan Africa, based on analyses conducted in technical workshops in BMJ Global Health as part of a special series sponsored by the Countdown to 2030 for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health. 5 publications submitted in various journals.
• Evidence review conducted to identify: i) best practice methodologies for collecting quantitative ASRHR data, and ii) critical variables to understanding ASRHR – leading the Lab to test innovative mixed method approaches.
• Data collection strategies and instruments designed for implementation in Tanzania to integrate multiple mixed methods to measure ASRHR programming, such as:
i). Facility assessment surveys, developed using SARA (Service Availability Readiness Assessment).
ii). Surveys team experimented with testing diverse, short question formats by including indirect questioning of SRH behavior and sensitive issues with lists and vignettes (e.g., sexual violence, abortion). Survey sampled across 2,000 adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19 from Kiesa (Tanzania) cohort.
iii). Designed a tablet-based and self-completed questionnaire to cater to different literacy levels using ACASI: Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interview Software The text is accompanied by audio, relaying the questions, instructions and response options through headphones.
iv). Qualitative: The peer ethnography approach recruited adolescents to act as peer researchers working in conjunction with a research assistant. After training, peer researchers discussed a specific ASRHR topic with friends each week for 3 weeks. Topic areas include: ASRHR knowledge; service use and barriers to accessing services; and how to reach adolescents with services or research, enabling adolescents to participate in data production rather than being researched.