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Assessing youth participation through network mapping analysis

Ishmael Gbedzeha1, Doris Aglobitse2, Ugochi Daniels2, and Audrey Elster2. (1) c/o United Nations Population Fund, Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana, African Youth Alliance, 220E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017, 212 297 5164, daniels@unfpa.org, (2) African Youth Alliance (Ghana), United Nations Population Fund, 220 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

There is agreement that youth participation is important for “good” youth programs and there is evidence of behavioral impact on those youth who participate directly in the program. However, evidence on the effect of youth participation on other youth reached and the larger context (institutions, policy change etc) is thin. Some argue too few youth are meaningfully involved in programs to lead to behavior and attitudinal change in the general population. The African Youth Alliance (AYA) aims to improve the adolescent sexual and reproductive health of young people in 4 sub-Saharan African countries. Using a network mapping model, AYA qualitatively assessed (video, interviews, etc) the contribution of youth involvement to its program by tracking youth networks and linking youth participation inputs and network interaction to outcomes and results. Lessons learned: 1 Young people interact socially (personal contact) and programmatically (intervention contact). The strength of results is linked to the size and quality of their social and programmatic networks. 2 With network growth the effect of youth participation becomes more diffuse and intangible. 3 A young person’s social network should be a key factor for selection, and be strategically matched to their involvement in the program. 4 Programmatic networks should not be ad hoc but identified a priori, and linked to program goals to facilitate measurement. 5. It is good practice to work with young people to analyze their social networks and their intended programmatic networks, as it establishes clear goals for the young person and motivates them to “maximize” every contact made

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Assessments, Youth

Related Web page: www.ayaonline.org

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Factors that Affect Sexual and Reproductive Health of Young People, and How to Address them

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA